The Royal Mint has unveiled the first sovereign bearing the portrait of King Charles III.
The new sovereign’s reverse features a rare change of design in honour of Britain’s longest-serving monarch, the late queen Elizabeth II. The circulation coin turned bullion coin featured every portrait of Queen Elizabeth II over her reign. For the first time in nearly 70 years, the official portrait of a new monarch, King Charles III, will now appear on the sovereign, also known and recognized as the “chief coin of the world.”
“This very special sovereign marks the beginning of a new reign whilst commemorating the legacy of Britain’s longest-serving monarch,” said Rebecca Morgan, the mint’s collector services director. “The sovereign has always had close links to royalty and charted the life of Queen Elizabeth II across seven decades and five portraits. This sovereign is expected to be highly coveted by collectors due to a number of unique elements which mark this historic moment. It is the first sovereign to feature the official portrait of King Charles III and the second 2022-dated sovereign to be released by the Royal Mint in the year. The reverse features a rare change of design, with a new interpretation of the Royal Coat of Arms in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II.”
The sovereign is famous for its depiction of St. George and the dragon by Benedetto Pistrucci, and changes to the design are reserved for special and milestone moments in British history such as the golden, diamond and platinum jubilees.
To mark this historic occasion, the reverse of this second 2022-dated sovereign features a new interpretation of the Royal Coat of Arms created by Jody Clark. The coin forms part of the wider memorial collection released by the mint to commemorate the life and legacy of queen Elizabeth II.
Royal Mint Museum director Kevin Clancy said: “The sovereign is an enduring icon and a coin with a rich history spanning five centuries. A change of monarch on coinage is always a momentous occasion and the accomplished portrait of the king by Martin Jennings marks a new chapter in the sovereign’s story.”
“Interpretations of the Royal Coat of Arms have appeared on coins many times before, including the first sovereign struck over 500 years ago, and this long-standing association with the monarchy makes it a fitting design for the 2022 sovereign commemorating queen Elizabeth II’s reign.”
In 1489, Henry VII ordered a “new money of gold” to symbolize the might of the Tudor dynasty. That large gold coin was the sovereign, and it has since evolved to become one of the world’s most distinctive and recognizable coins. More than 500 years after its inception, the coin maintains a close relationship with the Crown and has become a flagship coin for the Royal Mint.
The sovereign featuring the king’s portrait will be available in a range of collectable sets and individually from the Royal Mint website.