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King Charles III on Australian Coins

By CAA    |   Friday, 29 December 2023

King Charles III on Australian Coins

The Albanese Government released on October 5 the effigy of King Charles III which will start appearing on circulating coins produced by the Royal Australian Mint in 2024.

The new effigy is the official Commonwealth Effigy designed by The Royal Mint in London with Royal Approval. The first coin to have the King's effigy will be the $1 coin. The coins will start appearing in banks and cash registers across the country before Christmas. The other denominations will be progressively released in 2024, based on bank demand.

The last change of Monarch was more than 70 years ago. While there is precedent for the process of transitioning the new effigy on our coins, the process has changed significantly since that time. The Mint will be guided by the Australian Government and associated authorities on protocols and timings for the proposed change.

For seven decades, Australians have seen a Queen on their coins. Every decimal currency coin has featured Queen Elizabeth II. Now, for the first time since 1953, the King's effigy will appear on an Australian coin. For most Australians, this will be the first time they have held in their hands a coin with a King.

As is traditional, the new effigy will switch direction. Queen Elizabeth II faced to the right. King Charles III will face to the left.

- Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for Employment, Competition, Charities and Treasury

The first circulating coins with the new effigy will be released by banks and distribution partners. The first collector and investment coins bearing the King's effigy are expected to be available for sale early 2024.

When there is a new Monarch, the Royal Australian Mint will be guided by the Australian Government on what to depict on the obverse of Australian coins. The effigy transition process from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III may go as follows:

Receive Royal Approved portrait from the Royal Mint.

Portrait is incorporated into the obverse designs for all coin denominations and sizes.

Royal Australian Mint undergoes trialling of new coins.

Currency determination.


Release of new coins through banks and distribution partners.

The King will not wear a crown on Australian coins as with some previous British kings, and unlike The Queen. The choice to wear a crown is a personal one of the Monarch. Not all Commonwealth nations use the same effigy at the present (like Canada). The effigy is granted to Commonwealth Nations upon request to the Royal Mint.

Existing coins will continue to remain in circulation until they are recycled due to wear and tear. Coins with the effigy of King Charles III will gradually replace the old coins. There will not be a recall of coins currently in circulation and they will remain legal tender.

As Australia's circulating coin manufacturer, we appreciate the importance of the transition, and we are applying our considerable skill and expertise producing Australia's coins bearing the new royal effigy.

The staff at the Mint have been very deliberate and measured in the steps to date, and we are now well positioned to expand into production.

- Leigh Gordon, Royal Australian Mint CEO

The legal responsibility for deciding the design of Australia's circulating coins resides with the Treasurer. Traditionally, Australian legal tender coins bear the effigy of the Monarch on the obverse. There is no royal prerogative or legal requirement for this to be the case. Given Australia is a Commonwealth nation, the Royal Australian Mint will continue to design, manufacture and distribute Australian coins featuring the reigning monarch on the obverse until such time that it is instructed to do otherwise from the Australian Government.

Queen Elizabeth II, longest-serving monarch, has died on September 8, 2022, at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. Since opening in 1965, the Royal Australian Mint has produced over 15 billion decimal coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Once coins are released into circulation there is not a way of monitoring exactly how many remain in circulation. Up until 2016, the Mint had produced 15 billion, 689 million and 130 thousand circulating coins. Mintages after this time are tentative.

Since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, six effigies of the Queen have appeared on Australian coin obverses. Previous effigies were designed by Mary Gillick (1953), Arnold Machin (1966), Raphael Maklouf (1985), and Ian Rank-Broadley (1998). During 2000, Royal Australian Mint designer Vladimir Gottwald's effigy was used on the 2000 50c Royal Visit coin, and a number of numismatic coins since. The most recent effigy of Her Majesty, designed by Jody Clark, is the sixth effigy to appear on Australian coinage. This effigy has been used since 2019.

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