The very first coins depicting King Charles III will appear in the People’s Exchange from today.
A total of 4.9 million 50 pence coins depicting the monarch will enter circulation through the post office throughout December, with most branches hand 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 in 9,452 post offices during the month of December, with the remainder following in line with demand.
Brits can get their hands on one in their spare change when they make purchases at 9,452 post offices across the country, though there’s no guarantee they’ll get one.
The King’s portrait appears on the face of the new 50 pence coins, with the tail side commemorating the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
A commemorative version of the coin was released in October, drawing a record number of visitors to The Royal Mint’s website in the following 24 hours.
Rebeca Morgan, director of collectors services at The Royal Mint, said: ‘Today marks a new era for British coins, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing at 50ps in circulation.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to expand their collections, or start one for the first time.
“We anticipate the emergence of a new generation of coin collectors, with people scrutinizing their loose change to try and find a new 50p bearing the portrait of our new king.
“The Royal Mint has been trusted for over 1100 years to make coins bearing the likeness of the Monarch and we are proud to continue this tradition in the reign of King Charles III.”
The very first coins depicting King Charles III are now in circulation
Tradition: The King’s portrait faces left, in the opposite direction from Queen Elizabeth II
What’s on the new 50p coin?
The King’s effigy was created by renowned British sculptor Martin Jennings and was personally approved by His Majesty.
In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left, in the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II.
The reverse of the 50p has a design that originally appeared on the 1953 coronation crown.
It was minted to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted in a shield.
Between each shield is an emblem of the home nations; a rose, a thistle, a clover and a leek.
The King’s portrait appears for the first time on the 50 pence coins, with the reverse (tails) commemorating the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The face of the coin has four shields and between each shield is an emblem of the home nations; a rose, a thistle, a clover and a leek
What happens to our existing coins?
According to the Royal Mint, there are currently about 27 billion coins in circulation in the UK bearing the image – officially known as the ‘effigy’ – of Queen Elizabeth II.
These will be replaced over time if they become damaged or worn out and to meet the demand for additional coins.
For now, however, all coins depicting the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender and in active circulation.
Historically, it is common for coins with the likenesses of different monarchs to circulate together. This ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and costs.
The first King Charles III coins will begin circulating in UK post offices from today
How much is a King Charles 50p worth?
The Royal Mint anticipates today’s launch on a ‘new generation of collectors’.
However, given the large 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: ‘As the mintage will reach 9.6 million, we wouldn’t expect the coin to be worth a significant amount on the secondary market: 50p coins with similar mintage numbers are selling for between £1.14 and £1.37.
However, as this is the first 50p in circulation featuring King Charles III, there is no doubt that the value could (and probably will) be 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 will you find in your change?
While they may be sought after, it is highly unlikely that these King Charles III coins will ever be worth as much as the legendary Kew Gardens 50p, the most valuable in circulation simply because of numbers.
The Kew coin sells for over £100 on Ebay as only about 200,000 have been minted in total. This means that it is very unlikely that anyone will get one in a shop or even a bank.
The 2009 Kew Gardens is the rarest 50p available
The 50p coins minted in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics are also a much more valuable coin that could end up in someone’s change.
They became a favorite among collectors as a wave of enthusiasm swept through the country during the games in the capital.
The Royal Mint introduced 29 of them with different sports to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Some are now classed as the rarest 50p coins in circulation, with reports that the coins in circulation are selling many times their face value, due to their collectability and appeal.
The rarest of the coins is the 50 pence football coin, which has a mintage of just 1,125,500, while the 50 pence wrestling coin comes second with a mintage of 1,129,500.
The football 50p, with the offside rule in the form of a diagram, is still selling on the secondary market for around £20 – 40 times face value, according to Change Checker’s analysis.
The Royal Mint reminds the public to look out for the rare Olympic 50ps put into circulation in 2012
“In terms of other 50p coins worth much more than face value, there are quite a few,” says Trewick.
‘The Kew Gardens 50p, everyone knows this coin. It is the rarest in circulation with an edition of 210,000 and sells for around £148 on eBay.
“Most Olympic 50 pence coins have a very low mintage. Notably the 50 pence football and wrestling 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 and retails for around £5.55.’
Five 50ps worth putting in your pocket
Kew Gardens 50P coins typically sell for up to £100
1. Kew Gardens. Edition: 210,000. Year: 2009. Typical Retail Price: Up to £100
2. Olympic football. Edition: 1,125,500. Year: 2011. Typical retail price: £13
3. Olympic triathlon. Edition: 1,163,500. Year: 2011. Typical retail price: £10
4. Wrestling Olympics. Edition: 1,129,500. Year: 2011. Typical retail price: £8
5. Flopsy Bunny. Edition: 1,400,000. Year: 2018. Typical Retail Price: £6 *Prices from Coinhunter and 50pence.co.uk.
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