The very first coins featuring the image of King Charles III will start to appear in people’s change from today.
A total of 4.9million 50 pence coins featuring the monarch will enter circulation throughout the month of December via the Post Office, with the majority of branches handing them out.
The Royal Mint says the total number in currency will eventually rise to 9.6 million, in line with demand.
A total of 4.9 million 50 pence coins will enter circulation across 9,452 Post Office branches throughout the month of December with the remaining coins following in line with demand.
Britons will be able to get their hands on one in their change when making purchases in 9,452 Post Office branches across the country, though there is no guarantee of getting one.
The King’s portrait will appear on the face of the new 50 pence coins, with the tails side commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
A commemorative version of the coin was released in October, and saw record visitors to The Royal Mint’s website in the 24 hours following.
Rebeca Morgan, director of collector services at The Royal Mint, said: ‘Today marks a new era for UK coinage, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50ps in circulation.
‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time.
‘We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.
‘The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the Monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.’
The very first coins featuring the image of King Charles III are now in circulation
Tradition: The King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II
What is on the new 50p coin?
The King’s effigy has been created by renowned British sculptor Martin Jennings, and has been personally approved by His Majesty.
In keeping with tradition, The King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II.
The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown.
It was struck to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, and 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 King’s portrait will first appear on the 50 pence coins, with the reverse (tails) side commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The tails side of the coin features four shields, and between each is an emblem of the home nations; a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek
What will happen to our existing coins?
There are approximately 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the image – officially known as the ‘effigy’ – of Queen Elizabeth II, according to the Royal Mint.
These will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.
However, for now, all coins bearing the effigy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation.
Historically, it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate. This ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost.
The first coinage featuring King Charles III will start to appear in circulation in Post Offices around the UK from today
How much is a King Charles 50p worth?
The Royal Mint is anticipating a ‘new generation of collectors’ emerging from today’s launch.
However, given the high number of coins expected to be minted, coin enthusiasts are unlikely to sell for a huge profit on sites such as Ebay.
Joe Trewick, a writer for The Coin Expert says: ‘Given that the mintage will be 9.6 million, we wouldn’t expect the coin to be worth a significant amount on the secondary market: 50p coins with similar mintage figures sell for between £1.14 and £1.37.
‘However, since this is the first 50p in circulation to feature King Charles III there’s no doubt that the value could (and likely will) go higher initially as collectors rush to add it to their collections.
‘A good example of this is the 2022 Platinum Jubilee 50p, with examples on Ebay selling for well above face value within weeks of the coin’s release.’
What other valuable coins might you find in your change?
Although they may be sought after, it’s highly unlikely these King Charles III coins will ever be worth as much as the fabled Kew Gardens 50p, the most valuable in circulation, simply because of numbers.
The Kew coin sells for more than £100 on Ebay, due to the fact there were only around 200,000 minted in total. This means it’s very unlikely for someone to get one from a shop or even a bank.
The 2009 Kew Gardens is the rarest 50p around
The 50p coins minted in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics are also a much more valuable coin that might end up in someone’s change.
They became a favourite among collectors as a wave of enthusiasm swept across the country during the games in the capital.
The Royal Mint introduced 29 of them featuring different sports to celebrate the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.
Some are now being classed as the rarest 50p coins in circulation, with reports of the circulating coins selling for many times more than their face value, due to their collectability and appeal.
The rarest of the coins is the football 50p coin which has a mintage of only 1,125,500 with the wrestling 50p coin coming a close second with 1,129,500 in mintage.
The football 50p, which features the offside rule in the form of a diagram, still sells on the secondary market for around £20 according to Change Checker’s analysis – 40 times its face value.
The Royal Mint is reminding the public to look out for the rare Olympic 50ps that were released into circulation back in 2012
‘In terms of other 50p coins that are worth much more than face value there are quite a few,’ says Trewick.
‘The Kew Gardens 50p, everybody knows about this coin. It’s the rarest in circulation with a mintage of 210,000 and sells for around £148 on eBay.
‘Most of the Olympic 50p coins have a very low mintage. Most notably the Football and Wrestling 50p coins with mintages of 1,125,500 and 1,129,500 respectively. The football 50p sells for around £13.60 and the Wrestling £9.34
‘The Flopsy Bunny 50p is one of the rarest of the Beatrix Potter 50p coins with a mintage of 1,400,000, selling for around £5.55.’
Five 50ps that are worth pocketing
Kew Gardens 50P coins typically sell for up to £100
1. Kew Gardens. Mintage: 210,000. Year: 2009. Typical selling price: Up to £100
2. Olympics Football. Mintage: 1,125,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £13
3. Olympics Triathlon. Mintage: 1,163,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £10
4. Olympics Wrestling. Mintage: 1,129,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £8
5. Flopsy Bunny. Mintage: 1,400,000. Year: 2018. Typical selling price: £6 *Prices from Coinhunter and 50pence.co.uk.
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