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Moving People


  • BBC

King Charles 50p coins struck for the first time

Manufacturing has begun of the first coin to enter general circulation carrying the image of King Charles.

The 50p coin has started to be struck at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, and will enter tills, wallets and purses in December.

Sculptor Martin Jennings, who created the portrait of the King, said that witnessing the coin being produced was a "quite remarkable experience".

He said it took months of painstaking work to get the image right.

He used pictures of King Charles on his 70th birthday to create a likeness of the monarch, in what is the smallest work he has ever had to produce.

"It has to be an exact portrait but also that says something about the lasting values of the institution he represents," Mr Jennings said.

"In subtle and tiny ways, you can put these things across."


King Charles's portrait is the first coin design undertaken by Mr Jennings, but his public sculptures include poets John Betjeman, in St Pancras Station in London, and Philip Larkin in Hull.

The reverse side of the coin is a copy of the design used on the 1953 Crown struck to commemorate the Queen's coronation.

It includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

The 50p coins will be available for general use in December, distributed according to demand by banks, building societies and post offices. Eventually, 9.6 million 50p coins of the latest design will be made. Other denominations will be manufactured, carrying the King's image, in line with demand.

They will co-circulate with coins featuring the late Queen, so those 27 billion coins will still be accepted in shops. Before decimalisation, it was common for people to carry coins featuring different monarchs in their pockets.

The coins follow centuries of tradition with the monarch now facing left - the opposite way to his predecessor. Profiles are alternated between left and right for successive monarchs.

As with previous British kings, and unlike the Queen, he wears no crown.

The coins are being struck at The Royal Mint's site at Llantrisant where the official coin maker - and Britain's oldest company - moved to accommodate the decimalisation process in 1967. Visitors to the Mint's museum will be able to see the manufacturing process and strike their own coin.

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