Last updated Oct 3 2022
We're entering a new era in British coinage … we just didn't expect it to start so soon!
It's taken The Royal Mint a matter of weeks to unveil a new coinage portrait of Charles III. The new King acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, following the peaceful passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
On 3 October the Mint released an extensive range of coins, struck to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Queen. These official commemorative pieces are the first to feature the new definitive coinage portrait of the King.
Here's what we know so far about that new profile and the first official Charles III coins.
Martin Jennings' Royal Portrait
The artist behind the new coin portrait has been revealed as Martin Jennings.
A British sculptor, Jennings is known for his bronze statues of famous literary figures like Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Philip Larkin. If you've been to St Pancras Station you might have seen his depiction of poet John Betjeman.
Coin News reports that Jennings' portrait had been in the works for around a year and was choosen via a private competition held by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee.
Jennings joins a group of celebrated British sculptors who've turned their hand to the challenge of coin engraving. He worked from photographs of the King then modeled his design in plaster which was then digitally reduced to the correct size for a coin. The design was personally approved by King Charles. Speaking of the commission, Jennings said:
'I was delighted to hear that The King likes the image. He was very interested in it and responded very positively to it. It has been very gratifying to be involved in this important process.'
As expected, Jennings' royal portrait shows Charles facing left, the opposite direction to his mother who looks right on her coins. The tradition for British monarchs to face a different direction to their predecessor dates back to the seventeenth century.
While Queen Elizabeth II was shown wearing a crown in four of her five definitive coinage portraits, Jennings' portrait of Charles sports no glittering headgear or other symbols of his royal status. In this way the new coin portrait is similar to those of other male members of the House of Windsor. George V and George VI were both shown crownless on their money. You can read more about crowned portraits on UK coins in another article: Will King Charles III Wear A Crown On His Coins?
Jennings studied English at the University of Oxford then trained in calligraphy, experience he has brought to bear on the lettering of King Charles' coinage. Speaking of his choice of font, Jennings said:
'What I wanted was a classical, almost magisterial, form of lettering to emphasise the strength in the portrait.'
In many respects the new portrait looks to the past for inspiration so it's interesting to note that the English form of the King's name has been chosen for the legends on coins in the Queen Elizabeth memorial range, rather than the Latin 'Carolus'. The rest of the legend remains in Latin with a slight change to the phrasing, swapping out 'D G REG' ('Dei Gratia Regina') for 'D G REX' ('Dei Gratia Rex' - 'By the Grace of God, King').
Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Range
The first time we'll see this new portrait in person is on an extensive range of memorial coins, struck to celebrate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.
There are three distinct subsets to the range, each featuring a different design:
- A new Fifty Pence piece with a historic reverse
- A £5 Crown showing a pair of portraits of Elizabeth II at the start and end of her reign
- Ounce Coins, featuring a right-facing portrait of the late Queen within a wreath of laurels and national flowers
The three new commemorative coins, issued on Monday 3 October 2022, with the new portrait of King Charles III to the obverse.
New Circulating Fifty Pence
This coin may look familiar because it's a recreation of the 1953 Crown, issued to mark Her Majesty's coronation. The design shows the constituent parts of the royal arms with national flower emblems between them: an English rose, a Scottish thistle, an Irish shamrock and a Welsh leek which hides the date: 2022.
The design is the work of heraldic artist Edgar Fuller and was modeled by Cecil Thomas. The obverse of the Coronation Crown featured a equestrian portrait of the young Queen which inspired the design used on the Platinum Jubilee 50p.
What's really exciting about this Fifty Pence is that The Royal Mint have confirmed that this coin will be entering circulation. Platinum Jubilee 50ps have just started appearing in our change and we've seen a few 50 Years of Pride coins too. It will be interesting to see if these Elizabeth II Memorial 50ps will jump the queue and be expedited into our pockets.
This design has also been issued in a range of collectors editions, including BU, silver, gold and platinum coins.
A Double Portrait Of Elizabeth II
The second release in the Elizabeth II memorial range is a new £5 Crown, designed by John Berghdahl, an experienced coinage artist who has definitely been getting a lot of work from The Royal Mint in the last few years, including several commissions for the recent jubilee range.
His design for new commemorative Crowns shows two new portraits of Her Majesty the Queen. The bust to the left shows a youthful Elizabeth wearing the George IV State Diadem while the more mature right-hand head wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara. The legend above reads 'ELIZABETH REGINA' with '1926-2022' below.
These twin portraits, surmounted by St Edward's Crown and separated by the Queen's 'EIIR' cypher draw on the definitive effigies seen on her coinage down the decades with the three-quarters pose and the flourishes behind adding something new to this memorial piece which celebrates a long life of service.
Memorial Laureate Effigy
John Berghdahl is also credited with a second design which features a larger, right-facing effigy of Elizabeth II wearing a triple string of pearls. A wreath of laurel leaves and roses, tied with a ribbon, surrounds the portrait which is enclosed by the legend 'ELIZABETH REGINA 1926-2022'.
This piece - which features on a group of ounce coins - takes clear inspiration from historic numismatic design. It's worth comparing this to the portrait of Queen Victoria, ensnared with laurels, that appears on one side of her Diamond Jubilee medals. A similar motif appears on £5 Crowns, issued to mark Elizabeth II's own Diamond Jubilee.
Bergdahl's portrait here is of a mature and experienced monarch, this time in side profile, facing the same way as she did on the obverse of her own coinage. Paired with the new portrait of King Charles, this coin is a moving commemoration of this time of transition.
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1kg Gold Proof||£82,950.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 10oz Gold Proof||£29,405.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 5oz Gold Proof||£13,395.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 2oz Gold Proof||£3,995.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1oz Gold Proof||£2,725.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1/4oz Gold Proof||£725.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1kg Silver Proof||£1,795.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 10oz Silver Proof||£1,050.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 5oz Silver Proof||£570.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1oz Silver Proof||£105.00|
|2022 Elizabeth II Memorial 1oz Platinum Proof||£2,305.00|
Free Shipping On Charles III Coins
This new Royal Mint range launched on Monday, 3 October 2022 at 9am London time.
The Royal Mint is clearly anticipating exceptional demand for these Elizabeth II memorial coins. Because of this, many of the coins in this range, including all of the 50ps and £5 Crowns, are subject to a sales window, running to 31 December 2022. The number of orders received will determine the eventual mintage
We're posting our stock of Elizabeth II memorial coins to UK addresses for free, fully insured and discreetly packaged. Shipping for international orders costs just £15. Visit our delivery page for more details and check out some of the products in the range for expected shipping dates.
We're looking forward to finding out more about these coins and getting a chance to examine the designs in person. In the meantime, what do you think of the new portrait? And what about John Bergdahl's new designs for this collection? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or Instagram.
Frequently Asked Questions
The new Charles III 50p will enter circulation sometime after Monday 3 October when proof and BU editions are released by The Royal Mint. The coin bears a 2022 date so you should be able to find examples in your change before Christmas.
Official Queen Elizabeth II memorial coins, the first UK coins to show the new portrait of King Charles III by Martin Jennings will go on sale on Monday 3 October 2022. We're expecting the range to include BU coins as well as gold and silver editions of the new £5 Crown and 50p.
The artist behind the new coin portrait of King Charles III has been unveiled as British sculptor Martin Jennings. Jennings modeled his design in plaster and it was then digitally reduced to a size appropriate for coins. It will first be used on Elizabeth II memorial coins including a 50p.
Yes, The Royal Mint has announced that the new 50p, unveiled just weeks after Charles III ascended to the throne, will enter circulation. We will soon be able to see the new portrait of the King in our change, alongside older Elizabeth II coins that will remain legal tender.
The design for the new King Charles III Fifty Pence piece might look familiar to coin collectors. That's because it's based on the 1953 Crown, a commemorative coin struck to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, featuring a design by Edgar Fuller and Cecil Thomas.
New coins featuring a portrait of King Charles III will likely enter circulation soon. The portrait was revealed on 29 September and will first be seen on a range of commemorative coins, produced by The Royal Mint as a tribute to the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.
Two of the coins in the new memorial range from The Royal Mint feature designs by John Bergdahl who also created Platinum Jubilee coins earlier this year. The Elizabeth II Memorial 50p is a recreation of a 1953 design by Edgar Fuller and Cecil Thomas.
The first pictures of The Royal Mint's Charles III coins shows that his name will be written in English, not Latin. Some commentators had expected that the Latin form of Charles - 'Carolus' would be used. We're not sure why this choice has been made but it is an interesting one.
The first official King Charles III coins will go on sale on Monday 3 October 2022. We expect there to be serious demand for these limited edition pieces, given they are the first of a new reign. Availability will be limited so act fast to secure yours with free postage through The Britannia Coin Company.
Choose The Britannia Coin Company for new Charles III official coins, commemorating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. We're offering these new releases from The Royal Mint with free insured shipping to UK addresses. Buy from us and beat the queue to secure yours.