The first coins featuring the portrait of King Charles III will enter circulation within weeks.
To begin with, the 50p coins will be distributed exclusively at Post Office branches, Money Mail can reveal.
And anticipation is already building among collectors. Sellers on online marketplace eBay are advertising the 50p pieces at inflated prices — before they’re even available. Some are even listing the new 50p coins for as much as £10.
The first 50p coins featuring the portrait of King Charles III will be distributed exclusively at Post Office branches, we can reveal
The excitement is partly because the 50p pieces will be the only coins in circulation featuring His Majesty’s portrait and ‘2022’ — the year of his accession to the throne. The Royal Mint isn’t producing any other denomination of coin featuring the King this year.
So should you try to get your hands on a new 50p in pristine condition? And will it be worth a mint in years to come?
With 9.6 million of the new 50p coins expected to be minted this year, experts believe they may sell for slightly more than face value on the secondary market — but don’t expect to make a pretty penny in the long-term.
Joe Trewick, of researchers The Coin Expert, says: ‘Given the high mintage, we wouldn’t expect the coin to have significant resale value.
‘However, since this is the first 50p in circulation to feature King Charles III, there’s no doubt the value could initially go higher as collectors rush to add it.’
The first coins will start circulating when current 50p stocks featuring the Queen’s portrait run low. This is currently expected to happen in mid-December. Royal Mint started producing the coins at the end of October.
Other denominations featuring the King’s portrait will not follow until next year at the earliest.
Like all circulating coins, the new 50p is denominated. This means its face value will only ever be 50p.
But that may not stop prices rising on the secondary market.
On eBay, searching for ‘King Charles III 50p’ brings up more than 50 listings showing off the latest design. Some listings have racked up half a dozen bidders.
International bidders — namely collectors in the U.S. who are fans of the Royals — will be among those looking to buy, the experts say.
Dominic Chorney, coin specialist at A. H. Baldwin & Sons, says: ‘With the popularity of the monarchy overseas, I’m sure many of the new coins of King Charles III will be of interest to collectors and non-collectors alike.’
The 50p features a portrait of the King from his 70th birthday. The number being minted is roughly the same number of 50p coins created to commemorate Brexit, featuring the words, ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’.
As per tradition, His Majesty faces left on the coin (the opposite direction to the late Queen) and wears no crown. The reverse side is a copy of the design used on the crown struck to commemorate the Queen’s coronation in 1953.
It depicts the four quarters of the Royal Arms inside a shield. Between each shield is an emblem of the home nations.
The first coins will be distributed exclusively at Post Office branches and will start circulating when current 50p stocks featuring the Queen’s portrait run low and need replacing
The coins will circulate alongside roughly 27 billion coins featuring the late Queen, which will continue to be accepted in shops.
Banknotes depicting the King are not set for circulation until 2024, the Bank of England has confirmed.
Since 1968, there have been 104 different 50p designs. Most of these coins are far from rare as they are produced in such large numbers.
The most common 50p face — the 1968 Britannia design — has around 188,400,000 copies in circulation. In recent years, 10 million has become a typical mintage figure for new 50p coins.
Mr Trewick, of The Coin Expert, says 50p pieces minted in that sort of quantity tend to sell for between £1.14 and £1.37 on the secondary market. So they are mainly considered keepsakes, as opposed to collectors’ items.
Mr Chorney, of A. H. Baldwin & Sons, says: ‘Almost 10 million coins is an enormous number of coins to mint in a year — as you would expect when celebrating a new monarch.
‘As such, it is unlikely those coins will ever have any rarity value, particularly as the Royal Mint has told us how many it is making.
‘For comparison, the only 50p coins with any real rarity value are the Kew Gardens coins [see panel] issued to celebrate its anniversary in 2009.’
Other low-mintage 50p coins include some of the 29 different designs that launched ahead of the London Olympic Games in 2012, and Peter Rabbit coins from 2018.
Some of these were minted fewer than 1.5 million times.
So, will enthusiasts be able to request a King Charles 50p in the Post Office?
‘There is no harm in asking… whether Post Offices hand the coins out on request will be down to their discretion,’ says Mr Chorney.
Uncirculated commemorative coins to celebrate the late Queen — which also feature the King on the obverse — are more likely to grow in value given their rarity, according to Mr Chorney.
To buy from the Mint, prices range from £11 for the Brilliant Uncirculated 50p coin to a whopping £2,395 for the Gold Proof Piedfort 50p coin.
Five 50Ps that are worth pocketing
Kew Gardens 50P coins typically sell for up to £100
1. Kew Gardens. Mintage: 210,000. Year: 2009. Typical selling price: Up to £100
2. Olympics Football. Mintage: 1,125,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £13
3. Olympics Triathlon. Mintage: 1,163,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £10
4. Olympics Wrestling. Mintage: 1,129,500. Year: 2011. Typical selling price: £8
5. Flopsy Bunny. Mintage: 1,400,000. Year: 2018. Typical selling price: £6 *Prices from Coinhunter and 50pence.co.uk.