World Coins

Royal Mint redesigns circulating coinage with nature themes

New definitive designs for all eight circulating denominations of United Kingdom coinage were unveiled and will enter circulation by the end of 2023. Collector sets with the new designs are available now. The uncrowned Martin Jennings effigy of the king appears on the obverse of these 2023 coins.

Images courtesy of the Royal Mint.

New designs for 2023 circulating United Kingdom coins will soon appear in commerce.

The new series of designs was unveiled Oct. 12, almost exactly 13 months after King Charles III ascended to the throne following the Sept. 8, 2022, death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Designs for all eight circulating denominations, from penny to the £2 coin, are affected. The new designs are inspired by flora and fauna found across Britain and reflect King Charles III’s passion for conservation and the natural world, the Royal Mint said.

The new design of the nation’s coins — officially known as definitives — completes the chapter of King Charles III’s transition onto British coinage. The eight new coin designs replace the current shield formation introduced under Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.

Unifying the new coins is a unique repeating pattern featuring three interlocking C’s. This aspect of the design takes its inspiration from history and the cypher of Charles II, while the flora and fauna look to the future and the importance of the natural world.

The uncrowned Martin Jennings effigy of the king appears on the obverse of these 2023 coins.

Anne Jessopp, chief executive officer of the Royal Mint, said, “This unifying feature gives a nod to history through the cypher of Charles II while celebrating King Charles III’s commitment to conservation.”

Gordon Summers, chief engraver at the Royal Mint said, “Flora and fauna have deep roots in the history of UK coinage, but this is the first time that all eight coins have celebrated nature and wildlife.”

Design details

The penny depicts the hazel dormouse. Small in stature, the creature is found mostly in southern England, and its population has dropped in half since 2007, according to the Royal Mint.

The 2-penny coin shows the red squirrel, whose distinctive coloring blends perfectly with the reddish hue of the coin. The squirrel is found mostly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The 5-penny coin displays a leaf taken from an oak tree, signifying its role as a rich habitat for biodiversity in British woodland areas. The oak tree has a long association with monarchies, as ancient kings of Britain and Roman emperors wore crowns of oak leaves.

Appearing on the new 10-penny coin and found in a small part of Scotland, is the capercaillie, the world’s largest grouse.

The puffin, an unmistakable seabird, features on the new 20-penny coin. Some 10% of the worldwide puffin population breeds along the UK’s coastline.

The 50-penny coin shows the Atlantic salmon, which can be found in clean rivers in Scotland and Wales along with those in northwest and southwest England.

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The £1 coin depicts a bee, symbolizing the 250+ species that exist in Britain.

The UK £2 coin features flora to symbolize the four nations of the country — a rose for England, a daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Northern Ireland. The edge inscription of the new £2 coin was chosen by King Charles III and reads IN SERVITIO OMNIUM, Latin for “In the service of all.” It was taken from the king’s inaugural speech on Sept. 9, 2022.

The new definitive designs are available now in special sets, though at press time Oct. 23, most of those had sold out.

Examples will begin circulating by the end of 2023, the Royal Mint said.

For full details, visit the Royal Mint website, www.royalmint.com.


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