Preparing for change – what happens to UK coins and banknotes

Queen Elizabeth II was our longest reigning monarch – appearing on our UK coinage since 1953.

All 29 billion coins currently in circulation in the UK have Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy on the obverse.

Close up image of British banknotes and coins.
Close-up of British banknotes and coins.

As the nation prepares for a new monarch, questions are being asked about what happens to our UK coins and banknotes.


What happens to UK coins and banknotes with Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait and how long will they remain in circulation?

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What happens to British Isles and Commonwealth coinage with Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait on it?

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What do I need to do with my QEII coins and banknotes?

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When will the King’s coinage start circulating in the UK?

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Which direction will the King’s portrait face on our UK coins?

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Will there be a new obverse designer on the coinage of the King?

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What will King Charles III’s Royal Cypher look like?

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23 Comments

  1. Steve Austin on September 25, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    Hi.
    Just to let you all know. King Charles lll may not even be on our next coinage or notes.
    If you think about it, he is 73 years old. By the time our current currency is all collected and the new Kings effigy has been commissioned and starts to be seen on our day to day coinage it could be 3 years. At which time Charles will be 76 years old. It is hardly worth all the hassle of the Royal Mint going through all the change, for someone to rein for maybe only 10 years then change again.
    So don’t be surprised if he hands over his crown to his son Prince William.
    You heard it here first……

  2. Rodney Turner on September 25, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    George V died in January 1936, but the coins minted for the rest of that year had his image on. As a result no coins for circulation had Edward VIII’s image. A few sovereigns were produced. Commemorative coins were much rarer in those days, but I have a crown dated 1936 with George V’s image on it. Similarly, George Vi died in February 1952, but the coins minted for the rest of that year had his image. The Royal Mont may have changed its policy in intervening 86 years.

  3. John Turner on September 25, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Quite a lot of incorrect statements have been posted about these questions. The Daily Telegraph said the queen was the first monarch to appear on BRITISH banknotes. That was wrong on two counts. Some of the Georges have appeared on Scottish notes, and George V appeared on English treasury notes between 1917 and 1928. The Telegraph got a bit mixed up between the words British and Bank of England.

  4. Rodney Turner on September 25, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    In the past, the old monarch’s coins remained in circulation. Those of us over 50 remember having coins from Elizabeth, George Vi, George V and Edward Vii in our pockets. I don’t see why we expect it to be any different. What a waste to withdraw all the queen’s coins. Banknotes are different. They only have a life of five years so we expect banknotes with the queen’s portrait o to be withdrawn in a couple of year’s time.

  5. Scott on September 25, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    Hi could I ask about what will happen with the future Royal Tudor Beasts silver proof coins! As I’ve received my latest Yale of Beaufort the third coin of a set year 2023 that features Queen Elizabeth, will this change to King Charles III.

  6. Rodney Turner on September 17, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    I think it is interesting. Anybody under 50 has not lived when there was more than one monarch’s coins circulating. The previous monarch’s coins are not withdrawn. They will continue to circulate for the next 100 years. The banknotes are a different matter. They do not last as long. They will be withdrawn.

  7. Chris on September 13, 2022 at 6:51 am

    I know the mint have said that circulating coin production will continie with the late Queens face on but what about commemerative non circulation coins e.g. sovereigns. will production be paused until designs with the King are ready to be intoduced?

    • Alexandra on September 14, 2022 at 8:31 am

      Hi Chris,

      It is our understanding that The Royal Mint will continue to strike coins that had already begun production. Details of coins which The Royal Mint had planned to release this year, which have not yet made it to the production stage, still remain unclear.

      We’ll keep you informed as soon as hear more.

      Best,
      Alex

  8. Phillip Woolley on September 13, 2022 at 12:06 am

    Hi alex what will happen to the coins that never entered circulation. Be it £2 or 50p

    • Alexandra on September 14, 2022 at 8:28 am

      Hi Phillip,

      Are you referring to Brilliant Uncirculated coins, or coins that were planned to enter circulation and have been currently put on hold? The Royal Mint have said they will continue striking coins that had palace approval and were already in production. The specifics of which coins fall under this definition are yet to be confirmed.

      Best regards,
      Alex

  9. Mervyn Hood on September 12, 2022 at 9:01 am

    Hi Alex,
    I noticed this glaring error on the 9th when this blog was first posted. Now it has been re-posted and the error still exists so I felt that I had to point it out to you. The error is where it states at the beginning of the article that all 29 billion coins currently in circulation carry the fifth portrait of (the late) Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. Since this effigy has only been in use since 2015 I find that statement very difficult to believe. We still have some of the original decimal coins in circulation from 1971 and these have the portrait of the Queen that was current at the time of issue (unless these were all recalled, over-stamped and then re-released). Should we be looking out for these “specials” in our change?

    Kind regards

    Mervyn .

    • Alexandra on September 14, 2022 at 8:34 am

      Hi Mervyn,

      Great spot! You are correct – our blog is supposed to read ‘all 29 billion coins currently in circulation carry Queen Elizabeth IIs portrait on the obverse’. This has now been updated.

      Sorry for the confusion.

      Best,
      Alex

  10. Lee on September 11, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    With the end of the QEii era of coins, will this mean you guys will be releasing a New designed album to House the King Charles Commemorative coins that with undoubtedly come into circulation in the future?

    • Alexandra on September 12, 2022 at 8:29 am

      Hi Lee,

      Whilst we wait for confirmation from The Royal Mint over any future coinage featuring King Charles III, we don’t have any current plans for collecting albums. However, if this is something collectors would like, then we will consider it.

      Best regards,
      Alex

  11. Raymond Balding on September 10, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    What will happen to to forthcoming Harry Potter 50p series?

    • Alexandra on September 11, 2022 at 9:56 am

      Hi Raymond,

      We will keep you posted as soon as we hear more from The Royal Mint.

      Best regards,
      Alex

  12. Paul murkett on September 10, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    As a coin collecter,plus probably of millions of other coin collecters in this country and around the world are we advised to sell our coin collections which have the queen head on them if they are going to be eventually taken out of circulation, will there be any point to keeping our coins if you decide to sell any of them will people still purchase any of our coins what do you think we should do Alex,any help appreciated thanks Paul….

    • Alexandra on September 11, 2022 at 10:05 am

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for a question – it’s one many people are asking.

      My advice, as one collector to another, is hold onto your coins for now. We won’t see a phase out of our QEII circulation coins for some time yet. When they are gradually withdrawn from circulation, as coins with His Majesty Charles III begin to circulate, demand for QEII coins will undoubtedly rise.

      Historically, coins with previous monarch’s effigies on have been highly sought-after when a new monarch is sworn in. If you have any particular coins with low edition limits, these will of course also become even more sought-after.

      Keep an eye on our Scarcity Index over the next few quarters, as this will give a strong indication for the type of coins people are interested in, and may well be prepared to pay a pretty penny for (pardon the pun).

      If you’ve got any further questions, please do stay in touch and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      KR,
      Alex

  13. Craig Brown on September 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Will the coins be worth more

  14. bruce coombes on September 9, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Why is everyone so worried about the head on the coinage, it’s worth the same which ever head is on it. when I first started collecting coins in about 1960 (pre decimal) you could find Victoria bun head coins along with Edward VII, George V, and George VI. When the 50p coin was introduced it was because 10/- notes were used so often the only had a life expectancy of six weeks and a coin would last 100 years. So why was the size changed and the large ones withdrawn after 38 years. It’s only decimal coins that have only had one monarchs head on them although it may have been updated 5 times. In these times of high inflation it seams a waste of resources to melt down 29 billion coins and reissue them as they may only last a maximum of 10 years.

  15. Mick Bridgen on September 9, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    As a young collector many years ago, I noticed that some coins had different Monarchs on them ie George IV, George V, Edward VII, and Victoria this fascinated me as Elizabeth was our current Queen. This created a curiosity in me and I started collecting all the different one’s that I could afford to put aside. I was aged about 10-11 years at this point in time, so by leaving our current coins to run concurrently with the new Charles III coins will I believe cause great excitement among young collectors and they will probably ( as I did) Start looking at history in a different light. It enthused me to the point where I started looking for other Monarchs and now have coins going back to Richard the Lionheart.
    Just a thought

  16. Brian on September 9, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    What is going to happen about the new coins that are planned to be released in 2022??

    • Alexandra on September 11, 2022 at 10:07 am

      Hi Brian,

      We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear from The Royal Mint. They have confirmed they plan to continue striking coins but we’re yet to receive confirmation on which designs the coins will feature.

      Thanks,
      Alex

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