Maundy Money issued by British Monarch

The first ever King Charles III Maundy Money Credit: © The Royal Mint

Every year in the UK a Maundy Service occurs on the Thursday before Easter and each year, the British Monarch distributes silver coins to chosen men and women.

Early in her reign, Queen Elizabeth II decided that the money should not just be handed out in London and every year she travelled to a different Cathedral for the service.

During the service, the Sovereign distributes gifts according to the number of years they have lived with the same number going to both men and women.

First Charles III coins distributed 2023

Last year, King Charles III arrived at York Minster to distribute the first Maundy Coins of his reign and each of the 74 men and 74 women received two purses, one purse made from white leather, holding coins to the value in pence of King Charles III’s age. The other purse is made from red leather, containing a £5 and 50p.

The concept which goes back to the reign of King Henry VIII drew inspiration from Jesus Christ and the commandment he gave after washing his disciples’ feet.

This commandment or ‘mandatum’ meant that by the fourth century monarchs would wash the feet of the poor and hand out gifts of food and clothing but this then changed to special coins.

Scarce and collectable

Those produced are in denominations of 1p, 2p, 3p and 4p and although legal tender are not expected to be used although there is a significant collector market for these coins and sets of just four coins tend to sell for around £250.

This year, assuming that King Charles III is fit enough to take part in the Maundy Service, the number of recipients will be 75 rather than 74 of each sex and if he can’t attend then it is expected that the Prince of Wales will stand in for him.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page