The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 41, October 9, 2022, Article 7


Chip Howell writes:

King Charles III 50 pence obverse "I wonder if other readers can comment: isn't issuing a 2022 coin w/Charles' effigy a break with tradition? As I understand it, the usual practice is to retain the former monarch's image for the year of his/her death. I had gone so far as to explain this to someone, citing the 20th century examples where the new monarch's coins debuted the NEXT calendar year (Edward VII in 1902; George V in 1911; George VI in 1937; & Elizabeth II in 1953). And yet, within a MONTH of E2's death, we have a C3 coin? Perhaps the Royal Mint is being impetuous or greedy, hoping to cash in ASAP. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised."

I reached out for comments to readers who'd discussed the coins earlier. -Editor

David Pickup writes:

"As I understand it there is a tradition not to issue coins bearing the new monarch's portrait until after the coronation and this is usually the following year as it takes time to plan. However there are likely to be a new Maundy set issued for next April. Don't forget the new coins are really commemorative coins and are unlikely to be put in circulation. One is a 50 pence coin which will probably be sold as a commemorative in special display packs, proofs and bullion issues.

"I agree the Royal Mint will want to sell items to the public for Christmas. However that is a part of the Royal Mint's role to make a profit and mark public events.

"I hope that they will use the opportunity to re-design the reverse images. The current designs are very good but new reign should mean new designs."

Martin Purdy of New Zealand had these thoughts. -Editor

"I guess there are three factors at play here: necessity, technology, and politics, rather than just a desire for profit:

"Necessity: I'm only guessing, but I assume on previous occasions there have been plenty of coins already in circulation, or a new issue for the year with the "old" monarch's effigy already planned or in production, so there has been no need to rush into production with the new effigy. We have that in NZ at the moment, with plenty of coins already in stock in our central bank, so there is no hurry to get coins with King Charles' effigy produced and out in circulation (there's some lobbying for us to do there!). The same applied in 1952, as I understand it. There was no coin shortage but a full run was made in 1953 for the occasion, and then some denominations weren't struck again until 1961!

  1727 George II shilling obverse 1727 George II shilling reverse

"As for British coins, I have a shilling of George II dated 1727, his year of accession, his father having died in June that year, and guineas were struck for George I in 1714, for example, so it has been done in the past. A quick glance at the catalogue shows there are halfcrowns of George IV dated 1820, and various denominations issued under Anne in 1702 and James II in 1685, etc. Admittedly I had to go back quite a way for examples. Perhaps the need to get coins in circulation - which Britain lost sight of entirely for much of the 18th century - encouraged the Mint to get a move on in those years at least.

Of course, since the Queen died in September, coins dated 2022 bearing her effigy had already been produced for the UK, so the image has indeed been "retained" for the year in that sense.

"Technology: With digital systems and even advances in photography it's probably a much faster process now to get a die ready with the monarch's image. In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated before the year was out, but colonial coins bearing his name but no effigy were released with that date in Fiji, New Guinea and a handful of locations in Africa and India; as we know, portrait coins had been prepared in Britain during the year (in 1936 they at least had time from January to make a start) but weren't expecting to release them until the following year and so they were dated accordingly. The few 1937-dated nickel-brass threepence coins that were provided to machine makers for calibration, one or two of which accidentally slipped into circulation, must have been made before the end of the year.

"Politics: I make no secret of being something of a Charles fan, but acknowledge he has a few PR matters to deal with, and so - not unlike the practice of rushing coins into circulation in ancient times as soon as a new Emperor was proclaimed - it's probably no bad thing to get coins with the new effigy in people's pockets sooner rather than later."

Alan Luedeking passed along another article about the coins. Thanks, everyone! Also, see the following article in this issue about the designer of the coins, sculptor Martin Jennings. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
The U.K. Royal Mint Has Unveiled Coins of the Newly Crowned King Charles III, Designed by Sculptor Martin Jennings (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Atlas E-Sylum ad02

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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