The UK Coins that tell the story of Britain’s Warfare History

With 2024 marking 79 years since VE Day and of course, the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we’re taking a look back at some of the UK coins that tell the story of Britain’s warfare history.

2024 D-Day 50p

This year marks 80 years since the day that turned the tide of the Second World War – D-Day. To honour this poignant anniversary, the 2024 UK D-Day 50p was issued.

On 6th June 1944, 156,000 Allied troops arrived in Normandy by land, sea and air to launch their assault on Nazi-occupied France. Codenamed Operation Neptune but commonly referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history.

The reverse design, created by renowned sculptor David Lawrence in collaboration with Imperial War Museums, depicts brave Allied troops risking their lives on that fateful day. In the foreground, soldiers disembark a landing craft onto the beaches whilst planes fly overhead approaching by air.

The landings took place at five assault beaches along a 50 mile stretch of the Normandy coast, they were given the codenames Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword – all of which are inscribed along the bottom of the design.

2020 Victory in Europe £2

In 2020, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, The Royal Mint issued the Victory in Europe £2.

It features a woman holding a newspaper aloft in a crowd of celebrating people, set against a backdrop of the word VICTORY. Also inscribed on the coin’s reverse design are the years 1945-2020 and the words ‘VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY’. The edge inscription reads ‘JUST TRIUMPH AND PROUD SORROW’.

2020 Victory in Europe £2
2020 Victory in Europe £2

The coin, designed by Dominque Evans, was originally issued as part of the 2020 Annual Coin set, but was individually released later that year to coincide with the anniversary.

2019 D-Day £2

The Royal Mint issued a £2 coin in 2019, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day – the largest seaborne invasion in history. The invasion took place on the 6th June 1944 and began the liberation of German occupied France and laid the foundations for the Allied Victory.

UK 2019 75th Anniversary of D-Day £2

Initially issued as part of the 2019 Annual Coin Set, the D-Day £2 was favoured among collectors for its innovative design by Stephen Taylor.

The reverse design features arrows pointing across the English Channel to Normandy; each arrow has one of the five code-names for the beaches where Allied Troops landed: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

2015 Battle of Britain 50p

The Battle of Britain was an intense air battle fought mainly throughout the summer of 1940 between Germany and Britain. To commemorate 75 years since the great battle, The Royal Mint issued this 50p in 2015.

UK 2015 Battle of Britain 50p

Designed by sculptor Gary Breeze, this coin quickly gained interest from collectors due to the three different obverses when it was initially minted. Find out more about that here >>

This coin was re-issued in 2019 as part of the 50th Anniversary of the 50p celebrations in the Military History 50p Collection.

2005 St. Paul’s Cathedral £2

In 2005, The Royal Mint issued a £2 coin to commemorate 60 years since the end of the Second World War.

UK 2005 St. Paul’s Cathedral £2

Interestingly, the reverse design depicts St. Paul’s Cathedral. This is because the cathedral was one of only a few structures which survived the Blitz to become a great symbol of hope to a war-torn nation.

The edge inscription reads ‘IN VICTORY: MAGNAMITY, IN PEACE: GOODWILL’ which is part of the famous maxim that prefaces Churchill’s history of the Second World War.

This coin has a staggeringly high mintage of 10,191,000, meaning it ranks as ‘Common’ on the Change Checker Scarcity Index.

1995 Dove £2

This old-style £2 was issued in 1995 to mark 50 years since the end of the Second World War. The reverse design, by John Mills, features a dove as a symbol of peace since the end of the war. The edge inscription reads ‘1945 IN PEACE GOODWILL 1995’, highlighting fifty years since the truce.

UK 1995 Dove £2

The Dove £2 was one of only seven commemorative £2 coins to be issued in the older specifications before the change in 1997.

1994 D-Day 50p

In 1994, a UK 50p was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings – the final 50p issued in the older 50p specification.

1994 UK 50th Anniversary of D-Day Landings 50p
1994 UK 50th Anniversary of D-Day Landings 50p

With a mintage of 6,705,520 it’s the second rarest of the pre-1997 50p coins, and despite the larger 50p specification being withdrawn from circulation in 1998, they do sometimes still pop up in our change – as proven in our latest 50p coin hunt!

This coin was also re-issed in 2019 as part of the 50th Anniversary of the 50p celebrations, but interestingly, the 1994 D-Day 50p was voted Change Checkers’ ‘Favourite Ever’ 50p!

It’s fair to say the UK has a great history of celebrating important warfare anniversaries on our coinage, and they certainly are popular with our collectors!

Which of these coins is your favourite?

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  1. Paul on June 3, 2020 at 12:30 am

    There is one question I’d love to know would be how many aviation and Jane austen 2 pound coins where minted,have contacted royal mint about this for 3 years said would update there website with the mintage figures but still haven’t done it to this day,really would love to know because have got all 2 pound coins ever released except the Northern Ireland 2 pound commonwealth coin.

    • Alexandra Siddons on June 3, 2020 at 8:15 am

      Hi Paul, that’s a great question but unfortunately we don’t know the mintage figures yet for commemorative-only coins. As soon as these become available to us, we’ll let all our Change Checkers know! That’s an incredible £2 collection though! Keep up the search for the N.I Commonwealth £2, what a great find that would be!

  2. Cliff Beeton on May 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Will this coin enter circulation?

    • Rachel Hooper on May 6, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Hi Cliff. At the moment the coin has only been issued in collector’s quality and isn’t entering circulation.

  3. Lloyd DragonForce on May 4, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    No mention of its release to general circulation or just for individual sale. Is this coin still NIFC or what? Help me Kimberly wan kinobe, you’re my only hope 🙂 May the 4th be with you all and remember to stay safe!

    • Kimberly Jarrad on May 5, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Hi Lloyd, at the moment this coin is only available in Collector Quality and has not been released into circulation! Thank you, stay safe too! Kimberly