King Charles III Is Now On the Back of All Aussie Coins

King Charles III Is Now On the Back of All Aussie Coins

Back in 2022 the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away and King Charles III had assumed the throne. This was the first change in the British monarchy in 70 years, which meant we saw a bunch of changes happen for the first in many of our lifetimes. One immediate thought came to mind – are Australian coins going to change?

When will Australia get new coins?

australian coins queen elizabeth king charles
Image: iStock

It’s standard in many Commonwealth countries to have the reigning monarch’s face imprinted on the back of coins and on bills, including in the UK, Canada and New Zealand. Here in Australia, Queen Liz was featured on the backs of all our coins and on the $5 note.

Now that we have a King, the coins will need to be replaced with portraits of Charles.

It’s not a task that can happen overnight. Coins with Queen Elizabeth’s face on them have been gradually taken in and replaced with new ones.

According to the Royal Australian Mint, coins bearing the new sovereign’s effigy are usually released 12 months after the coronation. King Charles’ coronation occurred in May 2023, and as of today, the Royal Mint has confirmed (via ABC) that all 2024 coins from now will bear the new effigy.

The process began in late 2023 with the King’s effigy first being added to the $1 coin, followed by the 5c piece and $2 coin. Now, the new portrait will appear on all six Aussie coins.

What do the new coins look like?

The new Australian coins in circulation read Charles III, followed by ‘Australia’ and the year they were produced.

They also feature a side portrait of the King’s face; as is tradition, Charles’ portrait has him facing to the left.

According to the Royal Family’s official website, from the time of King Charles II onwards, it became a tradition for monarchs depicted on coinage to be shown facing in the opposite direction of their immediate predecessor. As Elizabeth II was facing to the right, Charles III will therefore face to the left.

You can see the design of Charles’ effigy on our coins below.

Image: Royal Australian Mint

Elizabeth II has been depicted on our coins as far back as when we had 1c and 2c coins (which were withdrawn in 1992), so this is a pretty major change for our currency.

However, you don’t have to worry about your old coins or notes becoming worthless now that a new monarch reigns. According to the Royal Australian Mint’s website:

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

Of course, the use of physical money, cash and coins is rarer these days, but if you do want to hold onto your Queen Elizabeth II coins for commemorative sakes, you can still do so.

If you’re curious about what else has happened in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s passing, we’ve got a breakdown of that here.

This article has been updated with additional information.

Lead Image Credit: iStock/Royal Australian Mint

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