In 1986, a brand new UK denomination was introduced in the form of a £2 coin.

These original £2 coins were never commonly found in circulation, as they were mainly struck for collectors. This made them much rarer than their successor, the bi-metallic £2 coin, as their mintage figures were much lower.

The pre-1997 £2 coins are still legal tender but they’re not used in circulation and banks/shops can refuse to accept them. Despite this, they still remain incredibly popular amongst collectors!

So, in this blog, we’ve put together a guide to the pre-1997 £2 coins, including everything you need to know about these collectable commemoratives.

What are old specification £2 coins?

The £2 coin has changed in its appearance since it’s first introduction in 1986…

The familiar, fully circulating bi-metallic £2 coin, was only introduced in 1998 and we’ve seen already seen over 50 different designs in total!

But prior to this, single-coloured, nickel-brass £2 coins were issued, purely to mark special occasions.

Between 1986 and 1996, there were seven different designs of the single-coloured £2 coins.

The Pre-1997 UK £2 Coins

Spot the difference…

Pre-1997 (old specification)1997 onwards (new specification)
Weight15.976g12g
Diameter28.4mm28.4mm
MetalNickel-brassOuter Nickel-Brass
Inner Cupro-Nickel
Obverse Effigy1969-1985 – 2nd Portrait, Arnold Machin
1985-1997 – 3rd Portrait, Raphael Maklouf
1997-2015 – 4th Portrait, Ian Rank-Broadley
2015-onwards – 5th Portrait, Jody Clark

As you can see, although the diameter of the £2 coin stayed the same, the weight was significantly heavier in the pre-1997 £2 coins!

The metal composition also changed so that the new bi-metallic coin could be distinguishable from the other coins in circulation.

So, how many of these coins were issued? Let’s take a look at our Pre-1997 £2 Mintage Chart and see..

Pre-1997 £2 Coin Mintage Chart

You might have spotted the top coin in our chart has a mintage of JUST 381,400! Let’s take a look at each of these coins in closer detail to get the full story…

1986 Commonwealth Games

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1986
  • Obverse designer: Arnold Machin
  • Reverse designer: Norman Sillman
  • Mintage: 8,212,184
1986 Commonwealth Games £2

The 1986 Commonwealth Games £2 coin changed the face of UK commemorative coins, being the first of its denomination to be struck and the first British coin being issued to commemorate a sporting event.

The thirteenth Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, and are well remembered for being boycotted by 32 of the 59 eligible countries who did not agree with Britain’s sporting connections to South Africa during the Apartheid era.

The reverse design features a thistle encircled by a laurel wreath over the cross of St Andrew.

1996 Football

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1996
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: John Mills
  • Mintage: 5,141,350
1996 Football £2

In 1996, England hosted the 10th European football championship and a commemorative £2 coin was struck in celebration of football.

The reverse design resembles a football, and is accentuated by the unusual concave surface of the coin. The year of 1996 is prominent on the design and the sixteen small rings represent the sixteen teams competing in the tournament.

The eventual winners of the competition were Germany who knocked out hosts England in the semi-finals.

1995 Peace

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1995
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: John Mills
  • Mintage: 4,394,566
1995 Peace £2

This commemorative £2 was issued in 1995 to mark 50 years since the end of World War II.

Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, is the 8th May 1945 when armed forces formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany. Upon the news, jubilant crowds sang and danced in the streets of London, New York, Paris and Moscow.

The reverse design by John Mills features a dove as “a symbol of aspiring peace; a calm, bountiful and optimistic image”.

1989 Bill of Right

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1989
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: John Lobban
  • Mintage: 4,392,825
1989 Bill of Rights

In 1689, Prince William and Mary accepted the Declaration of Rights prior to being offered the throne. This effectively shifted the balance of power from the Crown to Parliament and changed the course of British political history.

This £2 coin was issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this landmark Act. There were 2 versions of the coin issued – English and Scottish.

This coin is the English reverse design , which features the Crown of St. Edward and the inscription ‘Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights’

1995 United Nations

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1995
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: Michael Rizzello
  • Mintage: 1,668,575
1995 United Nations

The United Nations was established in the aftermath of World War II with the aim of maintaining world peace and to work for social progress.

Since its creation in 1945, the UN has sought to resolve potential conflicts peacefully and fight against poverty, hunger and disease across the world.

This commemorative £2 coin issued in 1995 marks 50 years since the inception of the UN, and features flags of nations accompanying the 50th anniversary symbol.

1994 Bank of England

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1994
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: Leslie Durbin
  • Mintage: 1,668,575
1994 Bank of England

When William and Mary came to the throne, public finances were weak and the system of money and credit were in disarray.

The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to act as the Government’s banker and debt manager, and its position as the centre of the UK’s financial system is maintained to this day.

This commemorative £2 was issued in 1994 to mark its 300th anniversary. The reverse design features the original Corporate Seal of the Bank of England and distinctive Cypher of William and Mary.

1989 Claim of Right

Fact file:

  • Year of issue: 1989
  • Obverse designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse designer: John Lobban
  • Mintage: 381,400
1989 Claim of Right

This is the second coin to be issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Prince William and Mary accepting the Declaration of Rights.

This Scottish reverse design features the Crown of Scotland and the inscription ‘Tercentenary of the Claim of Right’.

The mintage for this £2 however, is much lower. With just 381,400 issued, this technically makes it the rarest £2 coin ever! In comparison, the UK’s current rarest circulating £2 coin, the 2002 Commonwealth Games – Ireland, has a mintage of 485,500!


So hopefully our guide to the Pre-1997 £2 coins will help you along the way to expanding your collection!

What’s most exciting about all seven of these coins is that despite still being legal tender, they’re not used in circulation anymore and banks/shops can refuse to accept them. This makes these coins particularly sought-after by collectors!

Do you have any of these coins in your collection already? Let us know in the comments below!


Own the UK’s FIRST-EVER Commemorative £2 Coin!

1986 Commonwealth Games £2

To secure the UK 1986 Commonwealth Games £2 – the UK’s FIRST-EVER Commemorative £2 coin – click here >>

42 Comments

  1. Philip Yates on July 21, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I have all 7 of these £2 coins including 2 x 1989 Scotish ” Tercentenary of the claim of right ” in mint condition.



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 21, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Wow! That’s a very impressive collection Philip!



  2. Brian dawson on July 8, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Yeah got quite a few of each



  3. Phillip on July 8, 2020 at 9:10 am

    I have all 7 coins. Plus the 1986 proof set also every 50p from 1969 to 1997 old large size



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Sounds like you’ve got an impressive collection, Phillip!



    • Les Kent on July 8, 2020 at 10:42 am

      HI PHILLIP
      DID YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU COLLECT ALL THE 50p coins from all the sets
      You have at least 167 different 50p coins, that does not include any of the collenies
      Les.



    • john bass on July 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      willing to make offer for the 7 £2 coins



    • John Davey on July 9, 2020 at 7:33 am

      I have several of these coins (10) in all



    • neil on July 13, 2020 at 12:04 am

      Yep. So do I. I have all £2 from 1986 to the latest coin thats just been released this year including all 50ps from pre 1997 and all 29 Olympic 50p coins to the latest coin that’s just been released this year so far



  4. Paul on July 7, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    All 7 of the £2coins…i’ll offer you £13.50 for the lot..!😆😆 seriously though, bloody well done!😃👍



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:27 am

      That’s a great collection, Paul! Congrats on having them all 🙂



  5. terry on July 7, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Got them all also and gave them to my daughter who collects £2 coins. She was thrilled with them..



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:27 am

      What a lovely gift to your daughter, Terry!



  6. Marie trevivian on July 7, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    I have 6 football
    2 peace
    4 claim of rights
    2 commonwealth games
    2 united nations

    Need to keep 2 of each for two grandsons who are keen collectors but am willing to trade the spares if anyone is interested



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:28 am

      Wow, it’s amazing that you’ve got 4 Claim of Rights £2 coins, Marie!

      I’m sure lots of collectors would happily do a swap with you. Are you a member of our swap centre? https://www.changechecker.org/swaps.aspx

      Thanks,
      Alex



    • john bass on July 8, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      very interested in a claim of rights £2 coin



    • Daniel Pointon on July 10, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Hi Marie, would love to swap one of your Claim of Rights. It is the only one I still need. What would you accept for it? Regards, Danny



    • Paul Murkett on July 10, 2020 at 7:53 pm

      I have all 7 of these 2 pound coins in proof condition luckily I bought them all of ebay for only 30 pounds when a seller put all the proof ones on for a low starting price and I got them really cheaply,that’s why you should never start at a low starting price,but luckily it worked in my favour…



  7. Les Kent on July 7, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Hi there
    I am fortunate enough to have a all the single metal £2 coins in circulated uncirculated and proof
    and I also have them in my two £2 collection, but did you know ( I stand to be corrected ) that the
    BILL OF RIGHTS, THE CLAIM OF RIGHTS and THE NATIONS UNITED FOR PIECE are the
    only £2 coins not to have an edge inscription, which makes it very awkward if you collect the up
    and down edge inscription £2 coins.
    Les.



  8. Howard Bamber on July 7, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    I have the full set of circulated coins, I also have the full set in proof sets and a silver proof claim of rights.



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Wow, that’s an impressive collection, Howard!



  9. Nigel Davies on July 7, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    I have Six if the Seven, just lacking Claim of Rights



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Keep on the search for the Claim of Rights £2, Nigel!



  10. Steve on July 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    I am lucky enough to have 2 sets of these coins.
    Will be selling them in good time



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:42 am

      You’re very lucky indeed, Steve! 🙂



  11. George on July 7, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Six of the coins circulated, nations united for peace uncirculated.
    Doubles= bill of rights, 1986 commonwealth games. X2 circulated



  12. George on July 7, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Hi i have all seven coins + 2 doubles



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 7, 2020 at 11:33 am

      What a great addition to your collection, George!



    • JOHN REDMOND on July 8, 2020 at 1:53 am

      I HAVE ALL 7 OF THESE COINS, THE CLAIM OF RIGHTS BEING THE HARDEST TO FIND.
      I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY DOUBLES I HAVE OF THESE 7 £2 COINS, DUE TO BEING IN HOSPITALS WITH COVID 19 PLUS DOUBLE PNEUMONIA FOR 5/6 MONTHS OF 2020.



      • Alexandra Siddons on July 8, 2020 at 9:26 am

        Congratulations on finding the Claim of Rights £2!
        I hope you’ve made a speedy recovery, John.



      • Les Kent on July 8, 2020 at 10:49 am

        Hi John
        Keep fighting it mate you will get through it
        Les.



    • Nicola on July 9, 2020 at 3:58 am

      I would be totally ecstatic to own these if anyone would like to sell



      • Alexandra Siddons on July 9, 2020 at 8:16 am

        It would be an amazing collection to own 🙂



  13. Steve on July 7, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Hi.
    So what are the values of these coins today..



  14. Barry Wilshaw on July 7, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I have all the pre coins except the Claim of Rights



  15. Steve Smith on July 7, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I am in the fortunate position of owning all 7 of these coins and would consider selling them as a set if the right offer was made



    • Alexandra Siddons on July 7, 2020 at 11:29 am

      Wow, you’re very lucky indeed Steve!