Seven million chances to see King Charles

Following the King’s coronation, UK Finance reveals that there are nearly seven million 50p pieces in circulation featuring the King’s image. However, it may be longer before you see a King Charles bank note, thanks to environmental considerations.

There are already 6.7 million 50 pence pieces in circulation that feature the image of King Charles III, UK Finance can reveal following the coronation on Saturday. 

However, the public might have to wait a little longer to see a banknote featuring King Charles. In order to minimise the environmental impact of the change, once the new notes enter circulation, the King Charles notes will only be issued when existing Elizabeth II notes start getting worn or damaged. 

UK Finance data also shows the number of coins processed through wholesale cash centres rose by 10 per cent in 2022 compared with the previous year, while the level of notes processed rose by 7 per cent. 

The banking and finance industry supports this sustainability priority and is already taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of cash. The industry is working together to eliminate as much single-use non-recyclable plastic as possible from the cash cycle. As part of this effort, plastic bags purchased for cash transit fell from 47 million in 2019 to 19 million in 2021. 

Many banks and financial institutions have demonstrated their commitment to making cash more environmentally friendly by agreeing to support the Cash Industry Environmental Charter. Supporters include UK Finance and many of its members, as well as representatives from banknote and coin producers, machine suppliers and ATM operators. 

David Postings, Chief Executive of UK Finance said: 

The banking and finance sector joins the nation in celebrating the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. Cash remains important to people and nearly seven million coins are already in circulation bearing the image of King Charles. While it may take longer for people to see notes bearing his image, this decision will help protect the environment. This action will support banking industry commitments to reduce the environmental impact of cash, something the sector has already made progress on.

Mark Loveridge, Director of UK Currency at The Royal Mint, said: 

There are approximately 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. These will remain legal tender and will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for new coins. This approach ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost. Sustainability is a core element of the Royal Mint’s overall strategy, and the currency business continues to find opportunities to deliver genuine progress in this field.  

"As the official maker of UK coins, last year, The Royal Mint started manufacturing the first circulating coins featuring the portrait of King Charles III. A total of 4.9 million 50 pence coins entered circulation throughout the month of December, followed by a further 1.8 million later that month. The remaining 2.9 million 50 pence coins will enter circulation in line with demand. 

“Historically, it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate and for many people, it will be the first time they have seen a new monarch appear on coins. It represents the biggest change to UK coinage since decimalisation.

Notes to editor

  • UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing more than 300 firms across the industry, we act to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation. 

  • Further information on the Cash Industry Environmental Charter is available here

Contact Information: