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What happens next for our currency? A coin specialist explains

Our existing coins and notes will remain in circulation for some time  (PA Wire)
Our existing coins and notes will remain in circulation for some time (PA Wire)

Coins and notes bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s face could be in circulation for as long as a decade while new coinage with King Charles III’s portrait is slowly phased in.

According to Peter Hutchinson, heritage coin expert at coin specialist Hattons of London, said the process of producing new currency with the King’s face on was likely to be some months away.

“I think the face of Her Majesty the Queen will be with us for some time,” he said.

Is my old currency still legal tender?

The Bank of England confirmed last week that all existing notes and coins with the Queen’s face on will continue to be legal tender, and that “a further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed”.

When will we see new currency with the King’s face on?

“There are very few people alive who will remember the last changeover,” Hutchinson says.

“In the first decade of Her Majesty’s reign there would have still been currency with George VI’s face on.”

In the next few weeks, the process will begin to mint new currency with King Charles III’s portrait, he said.

First, the job of producing the King’s portrait for the coins will need to be put out to tender, with a small number of artists asked to put forward a submission, Hutchinson says.

“Then a board made up of people from the Mint, the Treasury and palace will choose which one will be taken forward,” he explains.

“This is going to take some time.”

In his estimation, we won’t see any currency with the new King’s face on until at least January.

“In the cases of the last four monarchs, they all acceded in one year, and their currency arrived the year after.”

When will the existing notes cease to be in circulation?

“Probably as of now, no new note printing will take place,” Hutchinson says.

But the existing currency, particularly the new polymer notes, is designed to withstand several years of use.

And the Mint will already have a number of pre-produced notes and coins which will be added into circulation in the coming weeks, meaning it could be years before the old currency disappears.

Hutchinson explains that when decimalisation happened, old coins and notes were removed quickly in order to move to the new system, but this isn’t necessary when the value of the notes themselves isn’t changing.

Will my Queen Elizabeth notes and coins be worth anything?

Hutchinson is skeptical that there will be much value in coins or notes bearing the Queen’s face because they are simply so common.

But he does admit he is starting a collection just in case.

“I am pulling all the coins from this year, from 2022, out of my wallet because they will always have significance,” he says.