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The Queen Gets Shoulders, More Bling On New Aussie Coins

Her first update in 20 years.

Queen Elizabeth is getting her first makeover on Australian coins in 20 years, and we are pleased to inform you the monarch will now get shoulders and no longer be a disembodied floating head on our currency.

The Queen gets her face on the back of all our coins, but the one you're probably most used to was designed way back in 1998, when she was a sprightly 72 years old. Now, at a still surprisingly spry 92, the Royal Australian Mint has decided she needs an update.

And shoulders.

New design (left), vs old design (right)

The current effigy of the Queen, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley in 1998, will be phased out next year for a new design from Jody Clark, an engraver from the United Kingdom’s Royal Mint. It is known as the 'Commonwealth effigy', an adaptation of the image used on British coins since 2015, which was chosen through a public competition.

"The most noticeable difference between the United Kingdom and Australia’s portraits is that the Commonwealth effigy includes Her Majesty’s shoulders and features the Victorian coronation necklace," the Mint said in a statement. She's also got bigger earrings and a better crown.

"On Royal Mint coinage, the portrait does not feature the Victorian coronation necklace or Her Majesty’s shoulders."

It is the sixth design of the Queen to feature on Aussie coins, with the first coming in 1953, then getting updates in 1966, 1985, the current edition from 1998, and a special update in 2000 to commemorate the Queen's Australian visit that year.

"This new effigy will be a new image for a new era —continuing to tell the story of a reign and lifetime,” said Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, in launching the new design on Monday.

“The new coins and effigy are set to become a familiar sight for years to come.”

While there will be a new Queen in your wallet and your pockets from next year, the old coins will remain in circulation and still be accepted as legal tender, so don't stress if you get some outdated ones in change.

"The transition to a new effigy on all Australian coinage will begin in 2019 and continue into 2020. Coins carrying previous portraits of The Queen will remain in circulation," said the Mint's CEO Ross MacDiarmid.

The new coins will be coming to you next year, but special collector's editions of the new design are available now on the Mint's website, if you're into that kind of thing and just simply cannot wait that long.