Royal Canadian Mint Unveils New Effigy of Charles III

By Michael Alexander

The Royal Canadian Mint have unveiled the new effigy which will be seen on Canadian circulation, collector and bullion coinage. The new likeness was revealed on the 75th birthday of His Majesty who celebrated his second birthday as sovereign and the first since he was crowned.

Royal Canadian Mint President Marie Lemay and artist Steven Rosati unveil the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III at the Mint’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 14, 2023.

Royal Canadian Mint President Marie Lemay and artist Steven Rosati unveil the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III at the Mint’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 14, 2023.

Shortly after the unveiling, Royal Canadian Mint President Marie Lemay and the artist behind the new effigy Mr Steven Rosati also took part in the first strike of the new coins at the Royal Canadian Mint’s location in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The first coin denomination which has gone into production is the $1 and this was also the first coin struck during the unveiling.

His Royal Highness, Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales acceded to the Throne and became Canada’s Head of State upon the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the 8th September 2022. His coronation was held on the 5th May this year in Westminster Cathedral when he was solemnly crowned as King of Great Britain and his other Realms. Following the Government of Canada’s announcement of their proclamation of the new sovereign, an invitation was sent to more than 350 artists in the database of the Royal Canadian Mint as well as to their Mint engravers with instructions on the submission of a proposed effigy for Canada’s coinage. Each artist and engraver who responded with a notice of interest and a required portfolio of portrait work was evaluated. Each shortlisted artist and engraver received an artist final brief outlining mandatory design requirements. Submitted design concepts were evaluated by an internal Mint review panel that judged submissions based on aesthetics, technical requirements and mass-production suitability. The winning design was submitted for necessary approval from the Central government and finally from Buckingham Palace and ostensibly, His Majesty the King himself.

The Royal Canadian Mint offers various products with the new Charles Effigy.

The Royal Canadian Mint offers various products with the new Charles Effigy.

Since the production of Canada’s coinage was transferred to a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in Ottawa in 1908, (later the Royal Canadian Mint from 1931) there have been five changes in terms of effigies, Edward VII (1908 – 1911) George V (1911 – 1936) George VI (1937 – 1952) and Elizabeth II (1953 – 2023). The fifth change-over will include the coinage of Charles III from 2023 and is the first such modification on Canada’s coinage for 70 years.

The new effigy of HM King Charles III is the work of Canadian Portrait artist Steven Rosati who is nationally recognised for his traditional portrait style and technique. He studied fine arts, portrait painting and Graphic Design in schools both publicly and privately in Montreal and Toronto. With the adoption of this new effigy for Canadian coinage, Mr. Rosati becomes the third Canadian artist to have designed a royal effigy since 1990. He is preceded by Dora de Pédery-Hunt whose portrait was in use from 1990 to 2002 and Susanna Blunt whose effigy was included from 2003 until this year. After the death of the Queen in September 2022, an interim memorial effigy that included years reflecting the Queen’s reign was used in place of a definitive effigy of HM King Charles III.

In keeping with tradition, Mr. Rosati has portrayed the King shown facing to the left in opposite direction to the previous sovereign. His Majesty is shown in a suit jacket collar and tie with the initials ‘SR’ of the artist placed just to the lower right on the King’s lapel. The legend surrounding the coin reads CHARLES III D · G · REX with the year of minting placed under the King’s likeness on the one and two dollar denominations. Production of coinage bearing the likeness of King Charles III has now commenced and new coins dated 2023 are expected to enter circulation by the end of the year. The new coins are available in options of full classic BU 6-coin Mint sets and in rolls of each denomination from two dollars to five cents. A special roll of fifty cent coins containing 25 pieces is also available.