The NHS, Flying Scotsman, Windrush Generation, JRR Tolkein, and King Charles III headline the Royal Mint’s 2023 circulating coins

Time for the Royal Mint to reveal its base circulating coin designs for 2023, so we’ve popped back from our holiday break to post up the designs for your perusal. There’s always been a huge selection of anniversaries and events to choose from to commemorate in the UK, so we’re never actually sure until they’re announced exactly what is coming.

It’s another varied mix, with the bimetallic-looking £2 format getting our favourite designs of the five, one for that iconic train, The Flying Scotsman, and the other for the legendary author of the Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien. The very popular heptagonal fifty-pence format gets designs for the Windrush Generations, celebrating the first migrants from the Caribbean to come to live in the UK after the end of the Second World War, and the beloved National Health Service. Finally, there’s a £5 format offering marking the 75th birthday of King Charles III.

Most of these will appear in various gold, silver, and platinum variants as the year progresses, but the usual annual sets will be available to buy from 03 January directly from the Royal Mint. There will also be base-metal sets, including the usual standard circulating coins as well, all featuring the effigy of King Charles III for the first time. Sets range in price from £50, right up to the platinum at £10,390, so something for all budgets.

PRESS RELEASE: The Royal Mint has today revealed the first commemorative coins for 2023 to bear His Majesty The King’s official coinage portrait. The release is the first chance for collectors to own a set of 2023 dated coins that feature King Charles III portrait. The Royal Mint unveiled His Majesty’s portrait in September 2022, as part of the Queen Elizabeth II memorial coin range and all new coins struck from January 1st 2023 will now bear King Charles III portrait.

Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint, comments: “The Royal Mint has an official duty to strike the coins of UK monarchs and has been responsible for doing so since the reign of Alfred the Great. We were the first Mint to reveal the effigy of King Charles III in September 2022 and as Deputy Master of the Mint, I am honoured to unveil the first collection of 2023 coins featuring the effigy of King Charles III as we cement our role in history with this next chapter in British coinage. Our role as an exemplar of British craftsmanship means each coin bearing his portrait is of the highest quality, from the metal it’s struck on, to the hours of craft that’s gone into the design, the tooling and the final product for our customers.”

Rebecca Morgan, Divisional Director of the Collector Services at The Royal Mint said: “Each year The Royal Mint reveals a collection of coins, known as the Annual Set, which feature a range of designs that appear on £5, £2 and 50p coins marking some of the year’s most significant moments and anniversaries. This year is particularly special for The Royal Mint, as we unveil the first coins of 2023 bearing His Majesty King Charles III official coin portrait, which also includes a commemorative £5 coin to celebrate His Majesty’s 75th birthday. The Annual Set provides members of the public with an opportunity to collect the very first coins of 2023 with The King’s portrait and mark this historic transition in monarchy on coins.”



As the maker of Middle-earth, the father of modern fantasy fiction, and an accomplished scholar and philologist, JRR Tolkien is best known for creating the seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit in 1937 and the immensely popular The Lord of the Rings in 1954–55. In honour of Tolkien’s intellect and imagination, this £2 coin features Tolkien’s unique monogram encircled by a skilfully designed runic band. ‘NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST’, a quote taken from the poem, ‘The Riddle of Strider,’ which features in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, serves as the coin’s edge inscription.



Earning its name from the daily 10.00am London to Edinburgh rail service, the Flying Scotsman’s 100-year journey has seen it break railway records, gain worldwide fame, and become an enduring symbol of the great age of steam. As the Flying Scotsman celebrates its centenary in 2023, The Royal Mint has produced a £2 coin to celebrate the oldest working locomotive still operating on the UK’s mainline railways. The coin will also bear a fitting edge inscription, ‘LIVE FOR THE JOURNEY’.



On 21 June 1948, a ship called HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury, in Essex, having arrived from Jamaica. The ship has become symbolic of its passengers and their subsequent generations, who have played a pivotal role in shaping the United Kingdom since the Second World War. This 50p coin commemorates 75 years since the ship’s arrival and features a design by the artist Valda Jackson, whose parents came to Britain from the Caribbean, which depicts two of the ship’s passengers set against a backdrop of the Union flag.



In 2023, King Charles III will celebrate his 75th birthday. The Royal Mint pay tribute to a monarch who has already spent his life dedicated to a variety of good causes, as he sets out on a new journey where he has promised his “lifelong service” to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. His Majesty’s love of nature and plants is captured within the design of this commemorative £5, where the crown, The King’s cypher, and the number 75 is framed within oak leaves and delphiniums. The precious metal editions of the coin will also bear an edge inscription which says ‘RESTORING HARMONY WITH NATURE’.



Established in 1948 with the aim of providing care, based on need, and free at the point of use, the National Health Service has been a vital component of British society since its creation. Celebrating 75 years of care, compassion and devotion, this commemorative UK 50p coin features a reverse design which incorporates words that reflect our universal appreciation of the NHS.