King Charles Is Featured for the First Time on Circulating Coins Following Queen Elizabeth's Death

The first pressed King Charles III portrait 50-pence coins in circulation at The Royal Mint Ltd. in Pontyclun, UK, on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. Coins featuring King Charles III are set to enter use before Christmas in the UK, where they'll circulate alongside existing ones depicting Queen Elizabeth II.
The first pressed King Charles III portrait 50-pence coins in circulation at The Royal Mint Ltd. in Pontyclun, UK, on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. Coins featuring King Charles III are set to enter use before Christmas in the UK, where they'll circulate alongside existing ones depicting Queen Elizabeth II.

Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty

Change is coming to the change of the United Kingdom.

The first coins featuring the face of King Charles III are currently being produced by the Royal Mint in Wales and will begin being distributed into circulation come December, slowly replacing the ones that currently include the face of the late Queen Elizabeth II. On the other side of the coin is a tribute to the late monarch, a design that originally appeared on her 1953 Coronation Crown. It includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. In between each shield is an emblem of the U.K. nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

News of the production was announced by the Royal Mint on Friday.

"The first coins bearing His Majesty King Charles III's portrait are striking as we speak, and you can expect to see 50ps featuring the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial design on the reverse side of the coins in your change before Christmas," the Royal Mint captioned a video of the coins being produced.

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"Today is a significant event because we're changing that monarch for the first time in 70 years. Today, we're striking the first coins of King Charles III," Rebecca Morgan of the Royal Mint said in the video shared on social media.

The Royal Mint said there would be 9.6 million of the coins going into circulation in a nod to Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 96 on Sept. 8.

But while Queen Elizabeth faced right, her heir will face the opposite direction on the money.

"He is in this instance looking to the left, his mother looked to the right. Every monarch will be looking in opposite directions to their predecessor," designer Martin Jennings explained of a tradition dating back to the 1660s.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II attend the Royal Company of Archers Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II attend the Royal Company of Archers Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth

Just last month, the Royal Mint unveiled Charles' coin collection, which also salutes his mother.

King Charles "personally approved" the collection coins, The Royal Mint said.

"It is the smallest work I have created, but it is humbling to know it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come," Jennings said, adding that the sculpture was created after a photo of Charles, according to the Associated Press.

The Royal Mint has created coins for the U.K. for more than 1,100 years, including the coins during Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign.

A 50 pence coin featuring the head of King Charles III displayed next to a five pound commemorative crown piece coin by the Royal Mint in London, UK, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. The King's portrait which, sculptor Martin Jennings designed to face the opposite direction to his mothers, was approved by the monarch himself and seen by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in a process that kicked off after the Queen passed away. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A 50 pence coin featuring the head of King Charles III displayed next to a five pound commemorative crown piece coin by the Royal Mint in London, UK, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. The King's portrait which, sculptor Martin Jennings designed to face the opposite direction to his mothers, was approved by the monarch himself and seen by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in a process that kicked off after the Queen passed away. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

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Coins bearing portraits of Queen Elizabeth and King Charles will both circulate in change for years to come, the Royal Mint said.

"When first we used to make coins, that was the only way that people could know what the monarch actually looked like, not in the days of social media like now," said Anne Jessopp, chief executive of the Royal Mint, according to the AP. "So the portrait of King Charles will be on each and every coin as we move forward."

A set of memorial coins was also released on Oct. 3 "to mark this poignant moment in British history."