Change of Sovereign - FAQs

PROCESS FOR CHANGE

 

Q. Who will be on Australia’s new coins?

A. The obverse of Australian coins are struck with an image of the reigning Sovereign.
 

Q. When will a new effigy appear on our coins?

A. A Palace-approved effigy of the new Sovereign is likely to be provided to the Royal Australian Mint by the UK Royal Mint in due course.

Historically, coins bearing a new Sovereign’s effigy were released approximately 12 months after coronation of the Sovereign.
 

Q. What is the process for changing the effigy used on coins for a new Sovereign?

The effigy used on Australian coins is approved by Buckingham Palace and provided by the UK’s Royal Mint. Based on historical effigy changes of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the process may go as follows:

  • Receive designs from the Royal Mint
  • Seek approval to use the design from Buckingham Palace
  • Royal Australian Mint develops tools for manufacturing
  • Trialling
  • Currency determination
  • Production
  • Release of new coins through the major banks
     

Q. How long from the release of the new coins until they reach banks and ultimately circulation?

A. Upon receipt of the official portrait of the new Sovereign, the Mint would allow approximately 12 months to produce and release coins bearing the new effigy.
 

Q. Who will announce the new effigy?

A. The new effigy of His Majesty will likely be announced by the Minister.
 

Q. Will it be an expensive process to update the effigy of Australian coins? What will be the cost?

A. The cost for adopting a new effigy on Australian coins is negligible.
 

Q. How many coins of each denomination will be produced during the first year of the new effigy?

A. Standard circulating coins are produced to bank demand which is forecast each year. There will be an allocation of every denomination, but exact quantities will be based on bank demand.
 

EXISTING COINS
 

Q. Now that the Queen has passed, what happens to coins currently in circulation?

A. Existing coins will continue to remain in circulation until they are recycled due to wear and tear. Coins with the effigy of the new Sovereign will gradually replace the old coins. There will not be a recall of coins currently in circulation and they will remain legal tender.
 

Q. How many coins featuring the old effigy are in circulation?

A. Since opening in 1965, the Royal Australian Mint has produced over 15 billion decimal coins bearing the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Once coins are released into circulation there is not a way of monitoring how many remain in circulation.
 

Q. How many effigies of the Queen featured on Australia’s coins?

A. Since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, six effigies of the Queen have appeared on Australian coin obverses. Previous effigies were designed by Mary Gillick (1953), Arnold Machin (1966), Raphael Maklouf (1985) and Ian Rank-Broadley (1998). During 2000, Royal Australian Mint designer Vladimir Gottwald’s effigy was used on the 50c Royal Visit coin only.

The most recent effigy of Her Majesty, designed by Jody Clark, is the sixth effigy to appear on Australian coinage. This effigy has been used since 2019.
 

Q. Does Australia have to change the effigy used on our coins? Can we keep the current effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II?

A. Australian coinage is traditionally struck with an image of the reigning Sovereign on the obverse design. The determination of Australia's currency is the responsibility of the Minister.
 

Q. Will the Mint be halting production of the Queen’s effigy on coins?

A. No. Coins featuring the Queen’s effigy will continue to be minted during the transition to a new effigy of King Charles III.
 

DESIGN OF THE NEW EFFIGY
 

Q. Will the Royal Australian Mint design its own effigy?

A. No. Consistent with past practice, Australian coins will continue to bear the effigy of the Sovereign as approved by Buckingham Palace and supplied by the UK Royal Mint.
 

Q. Will the Mint review/revise the design, denomination or sizes in the process of changing the effigy?

A. The determination of Australia's currency is the responsibility of the Minister. The Royal Australian Mint, as a prescribed agency within the Commonwealth Government portfolio of the Treasury, follows Government direction on the creation of coinage. Any direction to change the designs or the denominations of Australian coins would be decided by those bodies.
 

Q. Will the new portrait on Australia’s coins be a headshot of the new Sovereign?

A. The image of the new Sovereign to be displayed on Australian circulating currency will be the design supplied by the Royal Mint and approved by Buckingham Palace.
 

Q. Will the effigy of the new Sovereign be facing the opposite direction of the Queen on the new coins?

A. Yes, in keeping with tradition, the new Sovereign will face the opposite direction to their predecessor in the profile portrait depicted on Australian coinage.
 

Q. Is it a legal requirement to have the Head of Commonwealth on Australian coins?

A. The responsibility for deciding the design of Australia’s circulating coins resides with the responsible Treasury-portfolio Minister (currently the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury). Although Australian legal tender coins bear the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, there is no royal prerogative or legal requirement for this to be the case; rather it is tradition.
 

Q. Will the Mint maintain the effigy’s medallic orientation?

A. Traditionally Australian coins have maintained the same medallic orientation.
 

Q. Who will design the new image to be used on Australia’s coins?

A. Details regarding an official portrait of the new Sovereign will be released in due course.
 

Q. Is the portrait design of the new Sovereign ready to go?

A. The Royal Australian Mint does not speculate about the design of the effigy of the new Sovereign.
 

Q. Who makes the decision about what images and designs are used on Australian coins?

A. The determination of Australia's currency is the responsibility of the responsible Treasury-portfolio Minister (currently the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury). The Royal Australian Mint puts forward proposed designs to the Minister for approval.
 

Q. Will there be a competition to design the new effigy? If not, why? If yes, what are the competition details?

A. Previous designs of the Sovereign on Australian coinage have been provided by the Royal Mint. It is likely the same course of action will be taken.
 

Q. Will all Commonwealth nations have the same effigy?

A. Not all Commonwealth nations use the same effigy at the present. The effigy is granted to Commonwealth Nations upon request to Buckingham Palace.
 

Q. When will the public see the new effigy design?

A. The Royal Australian Mint and the Australian Government does not intend to set any particular release date. The official portrait of the new Sovereign will be released in due course.
 

COMMEMORATION PLANS
 

Q. How will the Mint commemorate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II?

A. Given the Queen’s long history with Australia and Australian coinage, the Royal Australian Mint will appropriately commemorate the Queen in due course.
 

Q. Will the Royal Australian Mint produce a commemorative coin for the Queen?

A. The Royal Australian Mint has a tradition of commemorating the reigning Sovereign through circulating and commemorative coins and will continue to do so in future. The Mint has previously released a $2 Circulating Coin marking the Queen’s Jubilee in 2013 and a commemorative three coin set in 2016 to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. Most recently, the Mint released coins commemorating the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
 

Q. Will the Royal Australian Mint produce a commemorative coin for the coronation of the new Sovereign?

A. The Royal Australian Mint is unable to disclose information regarding future coin releases as dates and details are held commercial in confidence and will only become available once the coin/coins are determined and released. This information will be advised in due course.
 

Q. Will the Mint release a coin set with both effigies?

A. The Mint is unable to disclose information regarding future coin releases. Dates and details are held commercial in confidence and will only become available once the coin/coins are determined and released. This information will be advised in due course.
 

MOURNING PERIOD
 

Q. Will the Mint observe a mourning period and/or factory shutdown following the passing of the current Sovereign?

A. Following the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Australian Mint stopped all coin presses for one day.
 

Q. Will the Mint be open on the National Day of Mourning?

A. The Mint’s factory will be shut down on 22 September 2022, to mark the National Day of Mourning. The Gallery will be open to visitors from 10am to 5pm*.

*Time has been extended to accommodate school and public visits

 

FUTURE DATED COINS
 

Q. Why have some future-dated coins already been released with the former Sovereign’s effigy?

A. It is standard practice for mints to release, in advance, certain collector coins which bear a future year date. This allows the mints to meet market demand. Under this practice, some 2023-dated collector coins have already been released with the Queen’s effigy. No 2023 dated circulating coins bearing the Queen’s effigy will be released.