1st Canadian coins bearing King Charles’s image unveiled by Royal Canadian Mint

The first Canadian coins featuring the face of King Charles were unveiled in Winnipeg on Tuesday, the King’s 75th birthday.

“Since 1953 the portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth has graced the obverse of Canadian coins. Today, 70 years later, a new chapter in Canadian history begins,” mint president and CEO Marie Lemay said during a news conference at the Royal Canadian Mint plant that produces circulation coins.

“We wish his majesty a happy birthday and we look forward to soon sending him his very own set of first strike coins.”

The mint showcased the design showcasing the monarch that will appear on one side of all its coins, replacing the image of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The design by Canadian portrait artist Steven Rosati was chosen from among submissions by 350 artists.

It was sent to Buckingham Palace for approval.

“I am honoured and humbled to have had my design of King Charles III effigy for such a prestigious moment in the history of Canadian coins,” Rosati said at the unveiling. “I am very excited to see the actual coins in production.”

One of the first pressed coins is seen during the unveiling on Tuesday. (CBC)

Earlier this year, the federal government directed the mint and the Bank of Canada to replace the image of the late Queen with one of the King on coins and on the $20 bill.

A spokesperson for the Bank of Canada says it has started the design process for the new bill, but it will likely be years before it’s issued.

“At this stage, it is far too early to be more precise about when the design of the note will be unveiled and when the note will begin to circulate,” Rebecca Spence said. “The current $20 note will continue to circulate for years to come.”

The monarch’s effigy is to be pressed onto a loonie for the first time at the mint on Tuesday.

The mint said a small amount of 2023-dated coins with the King’s likeness are to circulate in early December.

Coin exchanges are set to take place later in the month at the mint’s Ottawa and Winnipeg boutiques.

Rosati has designed other coins for the mint, including six silver National Hockey League goalie coins and a 100th anniversary commemorative loonie in honour of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The mint previously released pure gold and silver collector coins to mark the King’s coronation.

The King ascended to the throne in September 2022, following the death of his 96-year-old mother, who reigned for 70 years. He celebrated the beginning of his reign with a coronation that was attended by world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

All Canadian coins still in circulation with the Queen will still be considered legal tender.

An image of a coin depicting the likeness of King Charles III.
One of the first coins depicting the likeness of King Charles III was unveiled by the U.K. Royal Mint last year. Other Commonwealth countries apart from Canada have also moved to replace images of the Queen. (UK Royal Mint)
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