Why the King Charles III coin is taking so long and when Australians can expect to see it

Australian coins featuring an effigy of King Charles III are now forecast to be minted by the end of the year.

But one expert says the coins are not likely to be seen in the purses and pockets of everyday Australians for several more months after that.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: See what the new King Charles III coin will look like.

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The History of Money’s Joel Kandiah said the long process of designing and minting the new coins could not officially begin until after the Queen’s death — meaning, traditionally, a lot of time passed between the death of one monarch and the issuing of coins featuring their successor.

“Most of the delay was caused by the Royal Mint in the UK not releasing the effigy until (Queen Elizabeth II) had actually passed,” Kandiah told 7NEWS.com.au.

“It was kind of like a Voldemort ‘thou shall not speak of it’ kind of thing.”

The King Charles III effigy was released in the UK last year and, while Kandiah said “all indications so far show (the Royal Australian Mint) will copy the UK effigy”, Australia now faces its own set of protocols and procedures that must be followed.

“The issue is … when the (Royal Australian Mint) releases new coins, they do a thing called a currency determination — it’s a legal document that lists all the coins that are going to be made for that upcoming period,” Kandiah said.

“They usually do that some time in advance but they haven’t released any information yet at all, whatsoever.

“So we don’t know what effigy they’re using, or what designs are going to be on them or anything like that.”

Even if copying the UK effigy, major differences between Australian and UK coins mean the RAM will need to create its own dyes, designs, and prototypes — and run its own tests to ensure full-scale production doesn’t create defective coins.

“Once they’re satisfied, then they can start mass-producing,” Kandiah said.

“I guess when you’ve got machinery that is capable of producing 600 coins per minute, you really want to get that right. You don’t want to be producing millions of coins that … have defects.”

Assistant treasury minister Andrew Leigh told ABC Radio on Monday: “Each of the dyes 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.”

Australia is likely to copy the UK effigy of King Charles III (pictured). Credit: The Royal Mint

Kandiah said even once the coins are produced, it could be a while longer before most Australians get their hands on one.

“If they say it’s going to be at the end of the year, realistically, to see them among the change in our pockets, it probably won’t be for another few months after that,” Kandiah said.

“It leaves the Mint, goes through the cash-in-transit companies, (such as) Armaguard for example, then it gets issued to the banks, and the banks will respond to the needs of the customers.

“It might be a bit slower than normal because the demand for cash is not as much as it used to be.”

However, Leigh told ABC Radio: “I’m keen to make sure we get a lot of those new coins out, because I know for the vast majority of Australians this will be the first time they hold a coin in their hand which has a King rather than a Queen on it.”

The year-long wait “is nothing new” according to Kandiah, who said it took a year for Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy to be released after the death of King George VI.

But the Queen’s effigy isn’t going anywhere just yet. Australian coins have an average lifespan of 30 years, according to Kandiah.

“We’ll be seeing Queen Elizabeth II coins and King George III coins in circulation together for a very long time,” he said.

Australia Post has launched a limited edition $1 coin collection to celebrate the country’s “Big Things” such as the Big Banana in NSW, Queensland’s Big Pineapple and the Big Lobster in SA.

Australia Post has launched a limited edition $1 coin collection to celebrate the country’s “Big Things” such as the Big Banana in NSW, Queensland’s Big Pineapple and the Big Lobster in SA.