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How our coins and notes will change now that Charles is King

Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait has featured on the currencies of 33 countries – including Australia – throughout her 70 years on the British throne.

But the death of the long-reigning monarch will usher in a new era for Australian currency, with King Charles III to replace her on coins and the $5 note.

The New Daily explains the changes that we can expect to Australian currency – and when we can expect new designs in our wallets.

To the left

As monarch, the Queen featured on the rear side of our 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2 coins.

Those coins will soon be redesigned to feature King Charles. However, there will be one key difference.

While the Queen was featured facing the right side of the coin, the King will face the left.

This is a tradition that dates to the 1600s, which states that each new monarch must alternate the direction which they face.

Queen Elizabeth

The commemorative coin released in honour of Charles’ 70th birthday. Photo: Royal Mint

The only recorded exception to this rule in royal history was in the case of Edward VIII, Elizabeth’s uncle, who insisted his profile faced left.

The Treasury has been working with the Royal Australian Mint and Perth Mint in recent months, making plans in the event of the Queen’s death.

The design of the coin will likely be provided by the UK Royal Mint to the Royal Australian Mint and Perth Mint.

As for what the design will look like, we have a pretty good idea.

Charles’ portrait was featured on a special coin released by the UK Royal Mint in 2018 in honour of the then-prince’s 70th birthday.

However, in line with royal protocol, Charles will instead face left.

New banknotes

Not only does the Queen heavily feature on Australia’s coins – the monarch also holds a spot in the nation’s collection of banknotes.

While the Royal Australian Mint produces the nation’s coins, responsibility for the production and issue of banknotes lies with the Reserve Bank of Australia.

According to the RBA’s website, the reigning monarch has traditionally featured on the lowest denomination of Australian banknote.

The Queen once graced the now-discontinued $1 paper note, and has long featured on the $5 banknote.

The RBA confirmed to SBS News on Friday that it planned to redesign the $5 banknote “in due course” to reflect King Charles’ role as monarch.

British monarchs used to be featured far more prominently on Australia’s banknotes.

The Queen’s father, King George VI, featured on all banknotes during his reign.

Queen

The Australian $5 note features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth at the age of 58. Photo: RBA

Still legal tender

For those of with piggy banks full of cash, you need not fret – your coins and banknotes will remain legal tender.

Hundreds of millions of $5 banknotes and 15 billion decimal coins featuring the late monarch are in circulation around the country.

The RBA confirmed on Friday that the $5 banknotes would remain in Australian wallets for the foreseeable fututre.

“The $5 banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen can continue to be used. They will not be withdrawn and are likely to remain in circulation for years to come,” it said in a statement.

Queen

Banknotes and coins featuring the late monarch will remain legal tender. Photo: Getty

When will we see the new designs?

The Royal Australian Mint expects the new coins will be released sometime in 2023.

The changes in design will affect the 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2 coins.

While the new design is being finalised, new coins may still be minted bearing the Queen’s portrait.

The RBA said its redesigned $5 banknotes will take longer to come into circulation, the reason being that it is a long and complex process.

“It can be several years when a banknote is printed and when it is issued into circulation depending on demand from the public and the need to replace banknotes that have become worn in circulation,” a spokesperson told the ABC.
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