08 December 2022
The first coins bearing the official effigy of King Charles III have entered circulation in Britain, with the King’s portrait appearing on the new 50p coins commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
A new coin era has begun in Great Britain, with the new 50p featuring the portrait of King Charles III, being put into general circulation.
How many coins will be issued?
A total of 4.9 million 50p coins will enter circulation across 9,452 Post Office branches throughout the month of December with the remaining coins following in line with demand.
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In total 9.6 million 50p coins will enter circulation.
Nick Read, Chief Executive Office of the Post Office, said:
“It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office and for Postmasters that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network. December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner. If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a Post Office you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
How does this compare to other 50p mintages?
So how does this circulation figure compare to the circulation of other 50p coins? Here's a quick list for comparison:
- Paddington at the Tower 50p (2019) - circulation of 9 million
- Peter Rabbit 50p (2018) - circulation of 1.4 million
- Kew Gardens 50p (2009) - circulation of 210,000
The mintage for the new 'Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022 UK 50p' is therefore not as low as some rare 50p coins, but because so many people will be interested in the coin, and will likely put it aside, the demand may quickly outstrip supply, and we may see higher prices paid for examples.
How can I get one of the coins?
The Royal Mint anticipates a ‘new generation of collectors’ emerging from the change, and it is likely examples of the new coins will be quickly snapped up by anyone that finds one, and put into collections.
If you're keen to get your hands on the new coin, your best bet is to head to your local post office! The Royal Mint have confirmed that members of the public will be able to get their hands on one in their change after making a purchase in a post office.
Rebeca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint, said:
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King."
Of course, if you're not up for the hunt, you can buy a copy of the 'Brilliant Uncirculated' 50p directly from the Royal Mint. This costs £11 and is supplied in an official Royal Mint printed wallet exploring Queen Elizabeth II's historic legacy.
What about old QEII coins?
All UK coins bearing the effigy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation.
Historically it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate, it's just that most of us will not have lived through an era when this happened, since the Queen's reign lasted so long. This 'co-circulation' ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost.
There are approximately 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. These will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins. So both QEII and KCIII coins will circulate together for many years to come.