The British Royal Mint of Wales minted the first coins depicting King Charles. This means that for the first time in seventy years a different monarch can be seen on the new British money.
The portrait of Charles on the obverse of the 50 pence coin is based on a photograph taken prior to his 70th birthday. According to tradition, he looks the other way than his mother, to the left. Also, unlike her, he does not wear a crown, just as previous kings did on coins.
Around Charles’ head is the text “DG REX FD”, an abbreviation of the Latin word “DG REX FD” next to his name.De Gratia Rex, Fidei Defensor”, or the king by the grace of God, defender of the faith. Unlike previous kings, his name is written in English, so there is no Carolus.
The first coins were minted in Lantresant, Wales:
heads or tails? Charles is now at 50p
Charles himself approved the design of the coin. Designer Martin Jennings says that not only should the image be instantly recognizable, it should also have the correct shape.
He explains his considerations: “The statue must be able to stand for years and radiate dignity and seriousness, but also warmth.” “You say something about his role, about the monarchy, about his new position. There is something legendary about him.”
On the reverse of the coin are symbols of the royal coat of arms of a rose, thistle, clover and leek, representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the countries of the United Kingdom. Except for the year, this aspect is identical to the coin minted before Elizabeth took the throne.
Approximately 10 million of these 50p pieces are planned to be minted, to order. As of December, the British can find them in their wallets. This is followed by a special commemorative 5 pound coin with a double portrait of Elizabeth, followed by more coins of various denominations.
27 billion coins circulating with the late queen will continue to circulate for the time being. With coins lasting an average of twenty years, Elizabeth will remain in British pig banks, vending machines and parking meters for years to come.