13 September 2022
What will happen to our coins following the death of Queen Elizabeth II? When will we see King Charles III on our coins, and what about the other countries in the Commonwealth? Find out about the future of British coins in our special guide.
As the period of mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II comes to an end, we can begin to look back on a long and fascinating period of our history, when thousands upon thousands of coins featured the portrait of Elizabeth II.
We can also start to look ahead and for coin collectors the next few months will be a very interesting time.
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What will happen to our coins now?
The many millions of coins in general circulation across Great Britain will still be legal tender, and it is likely they will be in use for years, before gradually being replaced by coins featuring a portrait of King Charles III.
As is tradition, the portrait on the new coins will see the King facing to the left, since his mother faced to the right.
Most of us have not seen coins featuring other monarchs in circulation, but before decimalisation it was common for a variety of coins to be used, new and old, so different monarchs were seen on the coins in everyday use.
We will therefore see coins featuring the Queen and the King in circulation for years to come, and this will be a regular reminder of the long and remarkable reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Banknotes will follow a similar process. An official statement from the Bank of England explained:
"Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender. A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed."
When will we see King Charles II on our coinage?
The Queen's profile image is seen on millions of coins, and this won't change for some time. But coins with an image of King Charles III will begin to enter circulation. Whilst no date has been confirmed, it is likely to be January 2023 at the earliest.
Of course, the introduction of these new coins will depend on a number of factors.
A number of different options will be produced by artists, and mock-ups will need to be created. Even then, the King may choose to change or reject the designs, which would add more time to the process.
What about coins across the Commonwealth?
Money in Australia under Charles III
The Royal Australian Mint has said that new coins featuring King Charles II will be introduced, but it may be a year before Australians start seeing them in their change.
A statement read: "A Palace-approved effigy of the new Sovereign is likely to be provided to the Royal Australian Mint by the UK Royal Mint in due course. Historically, coins bearing a new Sovereign’s effigy were released approximately 12 months after coronation of the Sovereign."
However, reports suggest Australia's replacement $5 note may feature an Australian rather than the monarch.
Canadian coins under Charles III
Canada will also be changing their coinage, but not any time soon, as the official statement explained:
"The Royal Canadian Mint wishes to remind consumers and businesses that the royal succession has no impact on coins currently in circulation. A change in Monarch does not require the replacement of circulation coins. Therefore, Canadians consumers and businesses can continue using all coins currently in circulation.
"We are working on a plan to issue a variety of coins commemorating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s lifetime of service as Queen of Canada. The Mint will also support the Government of Canada as it works to determine a new obverse (heads) design for future Canadian coins."