Australia’s iconic coins will undergo a major change by the end of the year after it was revealed King Charles III would appear on the country’s silver and gold.
Assistant Treasury Minister Andrew Leigh revealed when the country’s new monarch will appear on currency following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
For about 70 years, the British queen and Australia’s head of state have been imprinted on the country’s hard currency, including gold and silver coins, and note denominations.
A year after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Mr Leigh revealed the Australian mint was not quite ready to release coins featuring the new king, but said it was not far off.
“We don‘t have a particular date for the first coins carrying the King’s face, but it will be
before the end of this year,” Mr Leigh told ABC’s Anna Vidot on Monday.
“There’s a range of things we need to get right; the mint’s dyes need to be appropriately tested. Each needs to sustain some 200,000 to 300,000 coin printings.
“So, all of that testing process is in place. You can be confident that it will take place before the end of the year, and we’ll have a big announcement on that.”
Mr Leigh said the change could be a “big moment” for many Australians who for decades have only ever known the nation’s coins to feature the Queen.
“This will be the first time they hold a coin in their hand which has a King rather than a Queen on it. So it could be a big moment,” Mr Leigh said.
As for the price tag to switch monarchs, Mr Leigh said it would not have a “major cost” to taxpayers as the mint already regularly updated its dyes.
“They (the mint) will run their dies with the Queen’s effigies to the end of their natural life, and then they’ll just substitute in dyes with the King’s effigy” he said.
“We have actually had half a dozen different effigies of Queen Elizabeth II during the course of her reign, so to change an effigy isn‘t as big a thing as you might imagine.
“But of course, you know, it’s seismic when suddenly you’ve got a different monarch on the coin facing the opposite direction.”