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The Royal Mint has begun production of the first coins featuring King Charles III, after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September. The move has been described as “the biggest change to UK coinage since decimalisation”, however the coins with the Queen’s portrait will remain legal tender.
The older coins will gradually be replaced over time as they become more worn and damaged.
A memorial 50p in honour of the late Queen will begin appearing from December, with plans to start circulating them through banks and post offices.
Workers at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant in South Wales will produce 9.6million copies of the coin to commemorate the Queen’s death at the age of 96.
The reverse of the 50p will depict the original design featured on coins to commemorate her coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953.
It includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms shown within a shield, with emblems of the home nations – a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.
There are currently around 27 billion coins with Her Majesty’s portrait in circulation in the UK, although it used to be common for coins featuring multiple monarchs to be in use at the same time.
Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: “For many people this will be the first time in their lives that they have seen a new monarch appear on money.
“It represents the biggest change to UK coinage since decimalisation and will usher in a new era where the coins of Queen Elizabeth II and Charles co-circulate in the UK.
“The new memorial 50 pence marks a moment in history and honours a landmark reign that lasted for 70 years.”
Designer Martin Jennings took inspiration from Kings past as well as images taken to mark the now King’s 70th birthday in 2018 for the portrait.
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His initials MJ will also appear in tiny letters on the coin by the King’s neck.
Mr Jennings said: “It is extremely painstaking work with microns of material.
“It has to be an absolute likeness. It is a portrait of the monarch but also of the individual.
“It is a huge honour. It is extraordinary to think that the smallest piece of work that I have ever done is that one that is going to be reproduced in the most multiples.”
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