The death of Queen Elizabeth II will result in significant change to currencies

King Charles III will soon appear in the new-style portraits on the currency, but unlike the Queen, he will be facing in the opposite direction

The death of Queen Elizabeth II will result in significant change to currencies
King Charles III will soon appear on the currency once he takes the throne after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II (Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The untimely death of Queen Elizabeth II has ushered in a new era, and Britain as a whole will experience substantial change, particularly in their currency. For the entire 70-year period that Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne, her image has featured on the currency.

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Since 1952, when she took the throne, the Queen's image has appeared on the majority of British currency, coins, and other items. The most recent image of the Queen on coins is the fifth portrait, which was designed by Jody Clark. It depicts the Queen in a side profile wearing a crown and drop earrings, and was officially launched in 2015. The design can be found on £1, £2, 50, 20- and even copper-colored pennies. Similarly, since the 1990s, the Queen has featured on British notes.

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In this photo Illustration, the front and back of the newly issued £1 (GBP) (one pound) coin is arranged on display on March 28, 2017 in London, England. The new £1 coin goes into circulation today and is designed to reduce the number of counterfeits in circulation with a secure 12-sided design and bi-metallic structure.
A £1 coin is arranged on display on March 28, 2017, in London, England (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Once King Charles takes the throne, the British currency will be changed. After the late King George VI died, a similar transformation had taken place. The designs that are currently in use will be replaced with new one that represents the new monarch.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on October 14, 2019 in London, England. The Queen's speech is expected to announce plans to end the free movement of EU citizens to the UK after Brexit, new laws on crime, health and the environment.
Late Queen Elizabeth II and King Prince Charles III during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on October 14, 2019, in London, England (Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

These changes happen gradually to give time to the citizens to use their money and change accordingly. When the Queen came to power, coins bearing her father's portrait persisted in use for over 20 years after his passing but when decimalization was implemented in 1971, they were discontinued.

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King Charles III will soon appear in the new-style portraits on the currency, but unlike the Queen, he will be facing the opposite way. Her portrait appears to the right on all current coins, but Charles' will turn his head to the left due to a custom that requires the monarch's face to shift with each new heir.

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales  picks up a scattered pound coin after unveiling a plaque with Royal Mint CEO Adam Lawrence (right), during a tour of The Royal Mint's visitor centre  on July 11, 2017 in Heol-Y-Sarn, Wales.
King Charles III picks up a scattered pound coin after unveiling a plaque with Royal Mint CEO Adam Lawrence (R), during a tour of The Royal Mint's visitor center on July 11, 2017, in Heol-Y-Sarn, Wales (Ben Birchall/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Soon, the coins with the picture of the Queen will no longer be produced at all, making them difficult to find. Copies will become more and more desirable to collectors because they are going to become increasingly rare over time and the new designs will dominate sales and manufacture. Rarer coins and notes can occasionally sell for hundreds of pounds more than face value at auction if the right bidder is interested.

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During her reign, the Queen supervised the Commonwealth, therefore many other nations' currencies also included a picture of her. For instance, the Queen can be seen on the $20 Canadian bill and the $1 Australian coin. Now that Charles is in charge, these designs will need to be changed, much like coins and notes in Britain. The Coin Expert predicts that the process of modification will take longer outside of Britain. Since different countries have different rules, the new design will be easier to implement in the country where it was first established.

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In this photo illustration Sterling notes and coins are displayed together on February 17, 2010 in London, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates.
Sterling notes and coins are displayed together on February 17, 2010, in London, England (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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