U.K. 50-pence piece first coin to bear King’s effigy

The official coin effigy of King Charles III, designed by Martin Jenning.

The first coin to bear the effigy of King Charles III will be a 50 pence, which the Royal Mint says will begin circulating “in the coming months”.

The King’s new portrait will also appear on a five-pound commemorative coin, which, on the reverse side, will feature two new portraits of the late Queen Elizabeth II. More information on that coin release is expected from the Mint next week.

Queen Elizabeth died on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.

The King’s effigy was created by renowned British sculptor Martin Jennings and was personally approved by the King.  In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II. The Latin inscription surrounding the effigy reads “• CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F • D • 5 POUNDS • 2022” which in English means ‘Charles III, by the Grace of God, King, Defender of the Faith’. 

“It is a privilege to sculpt the first official effigy of His Majesty and to receive his personal approval for the design.,” said Jennings. The portrait was sculpted from a photograph of the King, and was inspired by the iconic effigies that have graced Britain’s coins over the centuries. 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.”

The 50 pence will enter circulation in the coming months.

The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown. It was struck to commemorate the late queen’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. It includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations — a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

The Mint said the reverse of the commemorative £5 coin features two new portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.  The design was created by artist John Bergdahl. It will form part of a wider memorial coin collection, including a 50 pence to be released into general circulation.

The Mint said about 27 billion coins bearing the effigy of the late Queen are circulating in the UK and will gradually be phased out over time.

The Royal Mint has depicted Britain’s Royal Family on coins for over 1,100 years, documenting each monarch since Alfred the Great.

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