Royal Mint unveils first coins featuring King Charles III

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The British Royal Mint has unveiled the first coins bearing the portrait of King Charles III. Brits will see Charles’ picture at their move in December when 50p coins depicting him come into circulation.

The effigy of the new monarch was created by British sculptor Martin Jennings and approved by Charles personally, the Royal Mint said on Friday. Traditionally, the king’s portrait faces left – in the opposite direction to that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

“Charles has followed this general tradition that we have in British coinage, actually dating back to Charles II, of the monarch facing the opposite direction from his predecessor,” said Chris Barker of the Royal Mint Museum.

British royals
A Royal Mint staff member holds a new £5 commemorative coin featuring the official mint portrait of King Charles III 29, 2022 during a press preview in London Thursday September 14. The likeness of the King was created by British sculptor Martin Jennings and approved by the king.

Alastair Grant/AP


Charles is shown without a crown. A Latin inscription surrounding the portrait translates to “King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith”.

A separate £5 commemorative coin commemorating the life and legacy of Elizabeth will be released on Monday. One side of this coin features Charles, while the reverse features two new portraits of Elizabeth side by side.

Based in South Wales, the Royal Mint has depicted the British Royal Family on coins for over 1,100 years, documenting every monarch since Alfred the Great.

“When we first minted coins it was the only way people could know what the monarch actually looked like, not in the days of social media like today,” said Anne Jessopp, chief executive of the Royal Mint. “So the portrait of King Charles will be featured on every single coin as we move forward.”

Jennings, the sculptor, said the portrait was sculpted from a photograph of Charles.

“It’s the smallest work I’ve created, but I’m humbled to know that it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come,” he said.

Charles ascended the throne on September 8 following the death of his mother, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who died aged 96.

Around 27 billion coins bearing the likeness of Elizabeth II are currently in circulation in the UK. All remain legal tender and are in active circulation for replacement over time when damaged or worn.



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