World Coins

Royal Canadian Mint unveils King Charles III effigy

Canada has a new effigy of King Charles III for all six of its circulating coin denominations.

Images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

King Charles III reached his 75th birthday on Nov. 14, and the Royal Canadian Mint celebrated by unveiling a new effigy of the king.

The RCM ushered in a new era in the history of Canadian coins when its president and CEO, Marie Lemay, unveiled and struck the very first Canadian circulation coin bearing the effigy of King Charles III at the RCM’s manufacturing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The 2023 dollar, struck for circulation, becomes Canada’s first displaying the portrait of a new monarch in 70 years, after the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II graced Canada’s coins from 1953 into 2023. The contemporary portrait of King Charles III is the work of Canadian artist Steven Rosati, who also participated in the unveiling ceremony.

“Since opening its doors in 1908, the Mint has featured the portrait of the reigning monarch on Canadian coins. When the Government of Canada announced that the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III would appear on Canadian coins, we were proud to once more uphold a longstanding Canadian tradition,” said Lemay. “Many of our employees worked as one to meet the historic challenge, and we are pleased to be ready for production on the day of His Majesty’s birthday.”

Selecting the design

Following the Government of Canada’s May 6 announcement that the obverse (heads side) of future Canadian coins would feature the effigy of King Charles III, the RCM immediately launched the process to create this new design.

It invited experienced coin designers and Mint engravers to submit their concept of a “made-in-Canada” portrait of the newest monarch. Many artists and engravers answered this historic call, and Montreal-based Rosati prevailed in a strong field of finalists.

“I am honoured and humbled to have had my design of His Majesty King Charles III’s effigy chosen for such a prestigious moment in the history of Canadian coins and very excited and proud to eventually see it in production,” Rosati said, in a press release. “I am also very grateful to be among the many talented artists who have done designs for the Royal Canadian Mint.”

Rosati is only the third Canadian artist to have designed a royal effigy for Canada’s coinage since 1990.

He is preceded by Dora de Pédery-Hunt (1990 to 2002 issues) and Susanna Blunt (2003 to 2023 issues).

Prior to that, designs by British artists Arnold Machin (1965 to 1989 issues) and Mary Gillick (1953 to 1964 issues) were used for Canada’s coins.

Circulating the design

The RCM plans to begin circulating a small volume of coins in all circulating denominations by this December through public coin exchanges and by meeting new market demand through the national coin management system.

The addition of King Charles III’s effigy to the obverse of bullion and numismatic coins will also begin in December 2023.

In addition, the RCM has begun selling numerous collector products with coins bearing the new portrait:
➤ The 2023 Classic Uncirculated set — First Strikes.
➤ The 2023 Special Wrap Roll Collection — First Strikes.
➤ The 2023 50-Cent Special Wrap Circulation Roll.

For full details of the collector versions, visit the RCM’s website, www.mint.ca.

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