Eight new coin designs, reflecting the King’s passion for conservation and the natural world, have been unveiled by the Royal Mint.
The new designs, which will feature on coins ranging from the 1p to the £2, will soon start to appear in people’s change across the UK.
The designs are inspired by flora and fauna, celebrating creatures such as the red squirrel, the hazel dormouse and the bee.
Flowers and the oak tree leaf are also depicted on the new coins.
All eight coin designs have been approved by the King.
The new coins will enter circulation in line with demand from banks and post offices. The Mint expects that the first coins will enter circulation by the end of 2023.
The Royal Mint said the new designs – officially known as definitives – mark the final chapter of the King’s transition onto coinage.
The eight new coin designs will replace the shield formation introduced under Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.
Coins featuring the late Queen will continue to exist in people’s change, co-circulating with the coins featuring Charles.
The new coins are unified by a repeating pattern, featuring three interlocking Cs.
This aspect of the design takes its inspiration from history and the cypher of Charles II, while the flora and fauna look to the future and the importance of the natural world, the Mint said.
The edge inscription of the new £2 coin was chosen by Charles and reads: “In servitio omnium”, which means: “In the service of all.”
It was taken from the King’s inaugural speech on September 9 2022.
Anne Jessopp, chief executive officer of the Royal Mint, said: “This is a rare and historic moment as the complete set of UK coins change to celebrate a new monarch on the throne.
“The striking designs have been seen by His Majesty and reflect his commitment to conservation and the natural world, as well as celebrating British craftsmanship.
“The Royal Mint has struck Britain’s coins for 1,100 years and this collection will proudly take its place amongst the designs of monarchs ranging from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II.
“A unique pattern of interlocking Cs adorns each of the new designs. This unifying feature gives a nod to history through the cypher of Charles II while celebrating King Charles III’s commitment to conservation.”
Gordon Summers, chief engraver at the Royal Mint, said: “It is a privilege to work on the official coins of the nation and to ensure we reflect the King and Britain through our designs.
“Flora and fauna have deep roots in the history of UK coinage, but this is the first time that all eight coins have celebrated nature and wildlife.
“It takes a great deal of skill to create art on a canvas as small as a 1p or £1 coin. The Royal Mint has honed our expertise over 1,100 years and we can’t wait to see the new coins in the hands of the nation.”
Rebecca Morgan, director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint, told the PA news agency: “We expect some of the denominations to start going into circulation before the end of this year.”
She said denominations will be introduced “in line with demand”.
She added: “We expect all of them to go in before the end of next year but it will just be in line with demand between now and then.”
Ms Morgan said that it has been common for monarchs to co-circulate on coinage, adding: “Coins can last 20 years-plus.”
She described the process of creating the coin designs under the new monarch as “exciting”, adding: “Obviously the King has a longstanding commitment to conservation, so it’s great that it reflects him as a monarch.”
She also said that, as the focus on protecting the natural world has grown, the coins are “a really good reflection of modern Britain, as well.”
Each coin has been created with the support of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Collectors can also buy a commemorative set of the new designs from the Royal Mint’s website, priced from £33.
Will you find a bee or a red squirrel in your change? Here are descriptions from the Royal Mint of the new coins:
1p – Hazel dormouse
Small in stature, the hazel dormouse is a fitting presence on the UK 1p coin.
Mostly found in southern England in the UK, the hazel dormouse population in the UK has halved since 2007.
However, more than 1,000 have been reintroduced in 13 different counties.
2p – Red squirrel
The red squirrel’s distinctive colouring blends perfectly with the reddish hue of the UK 2p coin.
With the bulk of its UK population found in areas of Scotland, the red squirrel can also be found in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight, Brownsea Island, Anglesey, Cumbria, Kielder Forest and Formby.
Conservation efforts are in place to manage the population in the UK to avoid it becoming extinct.
5p – Oak tree leaf
The UK 5p coin displays a leaf taken from an oak tree, signifying its role as a rich habitat for biodiversity in woodland areas.
Supporting more life than any other native tree species in the UK, the oak tree has a long association with monarchies, as ancient kings of Britain and Roman Emperors wore crowns of oak leaves.
10p – Capercaillie
Found in a small part of Scotland, the capercaillie is the world’s largest grouse and features on the reverse of the UK 10p coin.
After becoming extinct once before, in the mid-18th century, the species is now at risk of becoming extinct for the second time.
20p – Puffin
Classed as a Red List species, there is hope for the puffin if action is taken to protect their nesting sites and food supply.
50p – Atlantic salmon
Wild populations are low due to factors such as river pollution, habitat loss, river heating and overfishing.
They can be found in clean rivers in Scotland and Wales along with those in North and South West England.
£1 – Bees
These industrious insects play a pivotal role in pollinating many plants and fruiting trees.
They are commonly found in gardens, parks, woods, orchards and meadows – and now on the reverse of the UK £1 coin.
£2 – National flowers
The coin features a rose for England, a daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Northern Ireland.
Inspired by the King’s inaugural address on September 9 2022, the edge inscription reads: “In servitio omnium”, meaning: “In the service of all.”