The Royal Mint has described the first coins bearing the official effigy of King Charles as a “fantastic opportunity for coin collectors”.

The King’s portrait will first appear on a 50p, with the reverse, or “tails” side of the coin, commemorating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The new coins will enter circulation in post offices around the UK from Thursday.

A commemorative version of the coin was released in October, generating record visitors to the Royal Mint’s website in the 24 hours following.

A total of 4.9 million 50p coins will enter circulation across 9,452 Post Office branches throughout December.

Coins will be distributed as change when customers make purchases.

Some 9.6 million 50p coins will eventually enter circulation, in line with demand.

Northwich Guardian: A new 50p coin featuring the portrait of the King (The Royal Mint/PA)A new 50p coin featuring the portrait of the King (The Royal Mint/PA) (Image: PA)

Royal Mint on the ‘fantastic opportunity for coin collectors’

Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at the Royal Mint, said: “Today marks a new era for UK coinage, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50ps in circulation.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time.

“We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.

“The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.”

The King’s effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings and personally approved by Charles.

Can you still use old 50p coins?

All UK coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation.

Around 27 billion coins circulating across the UK bear her portrait.

They will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.

Historically, it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate, ensuring a smooth transition with minimal environmental impact and cost.