King Charles’ coins go into circulation

It's the start of a new era…
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There are over 15 countries in the world where the currency bears Queen Elizabeth II’s likeness; Australia included. But obviously after the Queen’s death, from now on, newly minted coins and banknotes will bear King Charles III’s likeness.

In a historic transition, the first coins with King Charles on them entered circulation in the United Kingdom in December 2022, with the first notes expected to enter circulation in mid-2024. 

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The portrait of King Charles will be the only change to existing designs of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes. New notes will feature the King’s portrait on the front and in the see-through security window.

According to, Post Offices throughout the UK received 4.9 million 50 pence coins that bore the King’s effigy 10 months ago and were distributed as change when customers made a purchase from December 8, 2022 onwards. 

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While Charles’ image appears on the heads side of the coin, the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth are commemorated on the tails side as it features a design that originally appeared on Her Majesty’s Coronation Crown in 1953.

In keeping with tradition, King Charles’ portrait faces to the left; according to the Royal Mint, for more than 300 years, each King or Queen faces in the opposite direction to the one who came before them, and Queen Elizabeth’s portrait faced right.

king charles uk coins
In a historic transition, the first coins bearing King Charles III’s likeness (pictured above) have entered circulation in the United Kingdom. (Credit: Getty)

As for Australia, the Royal Australian Mint says $1 coins bearing King Charles’ likeness will enter circulation before Christmas.

New 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, and $2 coins are expected sometime in 2024, depending on demand from banks as they run out of the Queen Elizabeth adorned coinage. 

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However, the Australian $5 banknote may not feature King Charles for a little while. A Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) spokesperson told The Guardian, “We will plan for an update to the $5 banknote design in due course. Creating the design for new banknotes is a complex process.”

“It can be several years [between] when a banknote is printed and when it is issued into circulation depending on demand from the public and the need to replace banknotes that have become worn in circulation.”

It is expected that the new $5 note will also feature Parliament House on one side and an accompanying design that honours the culture of Indigenous Australians. 

The new $1 coin featuring King Charles. (Credit: Royal Australian Mint)

Charles is the second monarch to adorn Australian decimal currency after his mother. 

Of course, all existing Australian currency (coins and the $5 banknote) that bear Queen Elizabeth’s likeness will remain in circulation and can still be used.

“All Australian banknotes issued from 1913 retain their legal tender status,” the RBA spokesperson said.

“As Australia’s circulating coin manufacturer, we appreciate the importance of the transition, and we are applying our considerable skill and expertise producing Australia’s coins bearing the new royal effigy,” Assistant Minister for Employment, Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh added. 

“The staff at the Mint have been very deliberate and measured in the steps to date, and we are now well positioned to expand into production. The coins will circulate by the millions across Australia for many years.”

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