First King Charles 50p coins enter circulation
Millions of 50 paise coins bearing the image of King Charles III will be put into circulation through post offices across the country from Thursday.
They are the first mass-produced coins bearing the new king’s image, and will be given to customers in return.
An estimated 4.9 million new coins are being delivered to post offices – nearly half of the total number set for circulation.
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Coins bearing the late Queen’s image will still be accepted in shops.
The effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50p notes in circulation “marks a new era for UK currency today,” according to Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at The Royal Mint.
We predict that a new generation of coin collectors will appear as people pay close attention to their change in an effort to spot the new 50p that features the image of our new queen.
The coinage is struck at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, using an image of the king produced during the months by sculptor Martin Jennings.
He used photographs of King Charles on his 70th birthday to create the monarch’s likeness, the smallest ever made. He described its production and distribution as “quite a remarkable experience”.
Customers who buy some at post offices will be given the first batch of coins in return – something its chief executive Nick Reid has described as a “tremendous honour”.
Since December is the busiest month of the year, he explained, the coin would be added to the network gradually. If the new 50p isn’t in your change on your first trip to the post office, it might be there on your next journey, so keep a look out for it.
Damaged or old 50 paise coins with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth will be replaced by more coins on demand. There are about 27 billion coins in circulation in Britain that bear the late queen’s image and can still be used to pay for things. Before decimalization, it was common for people to carry coins featuring various emperors in their pockets.
The use of cash has shrunk as compared to debit cards, a trend driven by the emergence of contactless cards and then accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Rising prices have also reduced the purchasing power of these coins.
However, there is still a strong interest among consumers and collectors regarding the images used on coins and banknotes.
The reverse of the new 50 paise coin is a copy of the design used on the 1953 crown to commemorate the Queen’s coronation.
It consists of four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. Between each shield is an emblem of the Home Nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.
The coins follow centuries of tradition, in that the emperor is now on the left – unlike his predecessor. The profiles alternated between left and right for successive emperors. Like previous British monarchs, and unlike the Queen, he wears no crown.
Other denominations with the image of the king will be produced on demand.