The coins that we use every day are changing.
From the 1p to the £2, eight new coins will soon be entering our pockets and our piggy banks.
So, as we welcome the new era of King Charles III, both the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ of our circulating coins will have brand new designs.
Read on to unveil The Royal Mint’s brand-new designs, learn about the history of Definitive coins and why this is the biggest change for British coins in 15 years…
The Coins of a New ‘Carolean’ Era
The coins, each designed by The Royal Mint, have been authorised by HM treasury and approved by King Charles III himself.
Over the past seven decades, our circulating coinage has undergone many changes, showcasing five different portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, and two distinct reverse designs.
And even though we have seen His Majesty’s effigy on the obverse of several commemorative issues, this will be the first time we’ll see his portrait on the coins we find in our everyday change.
All reverse designs share a unique feature, setting each denomination against a stylised logo with 3 interlocking ‘Cs’, representing King Charles III.
Before they gradually enter circulation, The Royal Mint have introduced the first strike of these coins in commemorative quality – with a special Privy Mark…
Inspired by Our Natural World
What’s more, each coin embodies King Charles III’s passion for nature & sustainability, presenting various symbols of Britain’s vast wildlife on the reverse designs. Having been a Patron of The Wildlife Trust since 1977, Charles’ affiliation for the natural world was a key inspiration for the designs of the UK’s new coinage.
The new £2 coin design represents the union of the United Kingdom with intermingling flowers from the four nations of the UK: the Rose, the Thistle, the Daffodil, and the Shamrock.
For the £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 2p, and 1p, The Royal Mint have thoughtfully translated various wildlife creatures into innovative reverse designs.
For example, the £1 coin presents a pair of Bees, the 50p showcases a Salmon in water, the 20p a Puffin, the 10p a Scottish Capercaillie, 2p a Red Squirrel, and the 1p a sleeping Dormouse.
Finally, the 5p coin features a stunning combination of oak leaves and acorns – a perfect tribute to our natural world and England’s national tree.
The History of ‘Definitive’ Coinage
The eight different coin denominations which make up our everyday change (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2) began circulating in 1971. This followed Britain’s shift towards Decimalisation, a plan which had been in the making for over 10 years.
Multiple artists participated in a private design competition, and among them was Christopher Ironside, the chosen designer of the decimal coins. Ironside’s designs remained on the reverse of the definitive coins for 40 years, until Matt Dent proposed the idea of spreading the Shield of the Royal Arms over the definitive coins in 2005.
“This piecing together of the elements of the Royal Arms to form one design had a satisfying symbolism – that of unity, four countries of Britain under a single monarch.” – Matt Dent
A Special Touch for Collectors…
The best part is, you can now secure the commemorative editions of the UK’s new coinage.
And in addition to new designs on both faces, these coins also feature a distinctive ‘Privy Mark’ on the obverse, a unique and sought-after element.
Designed to distinguish these coins from the ones you’ll eventually find in circulation, the first commemorative strikes display a delicate crown positioned alongside the effigy of His Majesty.
From the official Brilliant Uncirculated pack, to the prestigious Proof Set, or the strictly limited DateStampTM, you can click here to view the range with prices starting from £33 (+p&p) and secure yours before it’s too late >
In 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II acceded the throne, the President of the French Republic – Vincent Auriol – gifted her a special Coronation present: a pure Gold medal.
There was just one produced worldwide, and it was struck in the workshops of Monnaie de Paris.
And now, in the Coronation year of King Charles III, President Emmanuel Macron has asked that the tradition be continued for His Majesty.
So, over 70 years later, Monnaie de Paris have curated a new special Gold medal as a Coronation present for the King.
A Golden Gift: The Coronation Medal
The Chief General Engraver of Monnaie de Paris, Joaquin Jimenez, was elected to design the medal, turning his hand to what he said to be an “immense honour”.
Conforming to the tradition, Jimenez decided to depict King Charles III’s portrait facing to the left, the opposite side to Elizabeth II.
This unique portrait of King Charles III on the medal’s obverse presents His Majesty wearing his Navy Uniform.
The reverse design innovatively captures the intricacy of Highgrove House, where King Charles III mostly resides. The Royal Cypher also features, thoughtfully set against intertwining ivy which is symbolic of His Majesty’s affiliation for the Gordon Highlanders.
The Royal State Visit
The medal was presented to His Majesty King Charles III by President Emmanuel Macron on the King’s Royal State Visit to France.
The three-day visit began with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe where a flypast from the Red Arrows and the French Air Force counterparts marked alliance between the two nations.
The King and President Macron went on to lay a wreath at the Eternal Flame, symbolising the endless sacrifices of French and British troops.
Monnaie de Paris’ Gift to Collectors…
But despite there being just one medal in the possession of King Charles III, Monnaie de Paris also wanted to create a gift for collectors too.
They designed and crafted replicas of the exact medal gifted to His Majesty, struck from solid Bronze and Sterling Silver.
And The Westminster Collection have been given worldwide exclusivity to sell them.
One year has now passed since the world mourned the loss of a remarkable monarch, a beloved leader and a symbol of strength and grace.
And our latest video has been dedicated to the memory of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Watch below.