This handout image received from the Royal Australian Mint on October 5, 2023 shows the design for the new Australian currency featuring the effigy of Britain's King Charles III. Image Credit: AFP

Canberra: An image of King Charles III will soon appear on Australian coins, more than a year after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, officials said Thursday.

The gold Australian dollar coin will be the first with an image of the new British monarch, who is also Australia’s head of state, Royal Australian Mint chief executive Leigh Gordon said.

About 10 million of the dollar coins will be circulating by Christmas, he said.

Assistant Minister for Treasury Andrew Leigh said the government had not wanted to rush the coin transition following the queen’s death in September last year.

“Certainly, we’re keen to get as many of the new coins with the king’s face on them out there as quickly as possible,” Leigh said.

The remaining denominations -– 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins plus a $2 coin -– will be rolled out with the king’s left profile and without a crown during 2024 based on demand from banks.

The latest queen’s image wore a crown. In maintaining tradition, the right profile of the queen was shown.

The king’s image is the official Commonwealth Effigy designed by The Royal Mint in London with the king’s approval and is available for use by all British Commonwealth countries.

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The 15.5 billion Australian coins carrying the queen’s image minted since Australia introduced decimal currency in 1966 will remain legal tender. She has appeared on Australian money since 1953.

The government was criticized over a decision this year to replace the queen’s image on the $5 note with an Indigenous design rather than an image of the king.

The $5 bill had been Australia’s only remaining bank note to still feature an image of the monarch.

Critics saw it as part of a plan by the center-left Labor Party government to replace the British monarch as Australia’s head of state with an Australian president.

Leigh said there was no plan to remove the monarch from Australian coins.