King Charles 50p coins struck, will be in official circulation in December

The first coin to enter general circulation of the image of King Charles following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, has been struck, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The 50p coin worth one-half of a pound began being struck at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales and will be found in consumers pockets and purses come December. 

Martin Jennings a famous British sculptor created the portrait of the King which will live on the 50p coins. Jennings used pictures of King Charles on his 70th birthday to recreate the likeness of the new monarch. 

"It has to be an exact portrait but also that says something about the lasting values of the institution he represents," Mr Jennings told the BBC. 

"Charles has followed that general tradition that we have in British coinage, going all the way back to Charles II actually, that the monarch faces in the opposite direction to their predecessor," said Chris Barker at the Royal Mint Museum.

Charles is depicted without a crown. A Latin inscription surrounding the portrait translates to "King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith."

Royal Mint currency announcement

The official coin effigy of King Charles III on a 50 pence and £5 Crown commemorating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II, during an announcement regarding the designs for the new coins and notes depicting King Charles III at the Worshipful Com

A separate memorial 5-pound coin remembering the life and legacy of Elizabeth will be released Monday. One side of this coin features Charles, while the reverse side features two new portraits of Elizabeth side by side.

Based in south Wales, the Royal Mint has depicted Britain's royal family on coins for over 1,100 years, documenting each monarch since Alfred the Great.

"When first we used to make coins, that was the only way that people could know what the monarch actually looked like, not in the days of social media like now," said Anne Jessopp, chief executive of the Royal Mint. "So the portrait of King Charles will be on each and every coin as we move forward."

Charles acceded to the throne Sept. 8 upon the death of his mother, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, who died at age 96.

Around 27 billion coins bearing Elizabeth II's image currently circulate in the United Kingdom All will remain legal tender and be in active circulation, to be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.