THE first coin featuring the official portrait of King Charles III has been struck and will soon be seen in people's pockets.

Fifty pence pieces with the King’s image will start entering circulation from December.

The new coin design featuring the King's image was revealed in September – with two big differences.

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.

The second major difference is that the King's face is pointing in the opposite direction to the late Queen's.

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He's facing left – whereas the Queen was pointing to the right.

Royal Mint museum director Kevin Clancy said it "represents the biggest change to UK coinage since decimalisation and will usher in a new era where the coins of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III co-circulate in the UK." 

The Royal Mint has now started making the new coins and visitors to the coin maker in south Wales can even watch them being minted from today

Anne Jessopp, chief executive of The Royal Mint, said: We are proud to have struck each coin of Her Late Majesty’s reign, and to continue our role as official coin maker into the reign of King Charles III.

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"The first circulating coin to bear the portrait of the King is a special 50 pence which pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

"The coins will start to appear in people’s change from December 2022, and we expect them to be highly collectable as people look to mark this moment in history.”

The King's effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings, who has represented famous writers and poets including Charles Dickens and George Orwell.

The new effigy has been personally approved by Charles, and Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint's chief executive, told The Sun that it is understood the King "is very satisfied".

Here's what the coins look like.

What do the new King Charles III coins look like?

There are a number of key design differences between the new coins featuring the new Monarch, and the late-Queen.

The King's portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II.

Kings are not usually depicted wearing a crown on coins, which is why you don't see Charles wearing one on the new coin.

Whereas if you check your spare change, Queen Elizabeth II is pictured wearing a crown.

The new 50p

On the new 50p, there is a Latin inscription which translates to: "King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith".

On the reverse side of the coin is the same design that appeared on the 1953 crown struck to commemorate her late-Majesty's coronation on June 2, 1953.

A crown is at the centre of four Royal Arms, which are in a crucifix arrangement.

Thistle, rose, leek and shamrock seen in between, and this design was created by the painter Edgar Fuller.

Commemorative £5 coin

 A special commemorative £5 crown coin is also available.

The £5 coin features the King's effigy on one side, while on the other features two portraits of the Queen side by side.

On the left is a depiction of the young Queen and on the right is a portrait of the Queen towards the end of her reign.

The crown that Her Majesty wore at her coronation is at the top of the coin, and at the bottom is her Royal Cypher "EIIR".

The Mint released a memorial coin range on October 3 to commemorate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ms Jessop said: "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.

"Although technology has progressed, we continue to honour British craftsmanship passed down through the centuries.

"Our team of skilled modellers, tool makers and engravers will ensure that the King's effigy will be faithfully replicated onto millions of coins.

"Her Late Majesty ruled with heart and devotion for 70 years, and this memorial collection commemorates her remarkable legacy as Britain's longest-serving monarch."

What will happen to coins with the Queen on?

The Royal Mint told The Sun that old coins with the Queen won't be pulled from circulation just yet.

Coins last for around 20 years, and coins with the Queen on them will be replaced within time with ones featuring the King on.

There are around 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

It means you'll see coins with both the Queen's head and King's head on them in your spare change.

From January 1, the Royal Mint will only make coins on featuring Charles III.

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The Royal Mint doesn't make notes – it only makes coins – but the Bank of England has confirmed notes featuring the King will enter circulation by mid-2024.

His portrait will appear on existing designs of all four denomination of banknote – £5, £10, £20 and £50.

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