THE first ever coin featuring King Charles III will start appearing in people’s change from today.
The 50p officially enters circulation and will be available from Post Offices around the UK.
But the other side of the coin will still feature a nod to the late Royal, as it is a new design commemorating the life and legacy of the Queen.
The reverse of the 50p features a design which originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown.
It was struck to commemorate the Queen’s coronation at Westminster Abbey and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield.
Between each shield is an emblem of the home nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.
A commemorative version of the coin was released in October and the Royal Mint website crashed as collectors rushed to snap one up.
Now the coin will go into circulation for the first time, which means you could soon start seeing it in your pocket or purse.
The King’s effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings and personally approved by Charles.
In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left – in the opposite direction to the late Queen.
On the new 50p coin featuring King Charles III, the Monarch is not wearing a crown.
That’s because Kings are not often depicted wearing a crown on coins – whereas Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had one.
Rebecca 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 coins’ appearance coincides with the release of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial Netflix docuseries, with the royal family braced for Harry and Meghan’s latest revelations.
How can I get one of the new 50p coins with King Charles?
A total of 4.9million 50p coins will enter circulation across 9,452 Post Office branches from today (December 7) and throughout December.
Coins will be distributed as change when customers make purchases.
Some 9.6million 50p coins will eventually enter circulation, in line with demand.
The Post Office’s Aldwych branch in central London, near Clarence House, is among the locations getting the new coins.
The Royal Mint has not said which branches will have the coin available.
If you want to get hold of one it could be worth calling your local branch to ask.
You can use the Post Office branch finder tool on its website to find contact details.
Nick Read, chief executive of the Post Office said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office and for postmasters that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network.
“December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner.
“If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a post office you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
What will happen to coins with the Queen on?
All UK coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation.
Around 27billion coins circulating across the UK bear her portrait.
They will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.
Historically, it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate, ensuring a smooth transition with minimal environmental impact and cost.