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 >>

The second coin in The Royal Mint’s Music Legends £5 series has just been released, and this £5 is sure to make you feel the love…

For the first time ever, Elton John features on a brand new UK £5 coin!

2020 UK Elton John £5

I’m Still Standing

Demonstrating a remarkable musical talent at a very young age, Elton John’s underlying musicality and passion for rock ‘n’ roll drove him to breakthrough. From playing in pubs to becoming a global sensation, Elton is a superstar who has been delighting fans for more than half a century!

Elton John in Concert

Since his very first self-titled album in 1970, Elton John has sold in excess of 300 million records worldwide.

Some of his chart-topping hits include, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Candle in the Wind’, and ‘I’m Still Standing’.

He also found success on Broadway, composing for Billy Elliot (2008), which went on to win 10 Tony Awards.

As recognition of his contribution to music, Sir Elton John was knighted in 1998.

2020 UK Elton John £5

To celebrate this true music legend, a brand new Elton John £5 has just been released by The Royal Mint.

2020 UK Elton John Brilliant Uncirculated £5

The reverse design of this £5 coin, by Bradley Morgan Johnson represents Elton John’s I’m Still Standing era. Speaking of the design, Johnson said, “I’m Still Standing was one of [his] favourite childhood pop tracks” and you can definitely see the influence this song has on the design of this coin.

My favourite feature of this coin design, is that Sir Elton John himself approved it. By owning this coin, you really are in possession of some huge music legend memorabilia.

2020 Queen £5 Coin

The very first £5 coin in the Music Legends series was released earlier this year, celebrating one of Britain’s most iconic and influential bands ever, Queen.

2020 UK Queen Brilliant Uncirculated £5

Formed in London, 1970, Queen instantly rocked the nation and became a British icon, creating unique and timeless songs which are still loved to this day.

As of 2005, Queen’s albums have spent the equivalent of 26 years in the UK Album Charts! (According to the Guinness Book of World Records).

The design of this £5 coin by Chris Facey, showcases the iconic instruments of all four founder members of the band: Brian May’s Red Special guitar, John Deacon’s Fender Precision Bass™, Roger Taylor’s Ludwig™ bass drum, and Freddy Mercury’s Bechstein™ grand piano.

Band members Brian May and Roger Taylor have officially approved the design of this coin and alongside the fact that this coin is full of numismatic firsts, this coin has already proved incredibly popular with collectors:

  • The first-time ever Queen have featured on a coin worldwide
  • The first-time ever a British band has been celebrated on UK coinage
  • The first coin to be issued in the new series celebrating British Music Legends.

If you would like to add the 2020 UK Queen £5 in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, then click here!

I’m sure you’re just as excited as we are by this brand new £5 coin and the continuation of the Music Legends £5 Series. Who do you think will appear on the next coin in the series? Let us know in the comments!


Secure the brand new Elton John £5 today!

As you would expect with a coin this exciting, your brand new UK £5 has been struck to superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality and protectively encapsulated in official Change Checker packaging to preserve its quality forever.

2020 UK Elton John CERTIFIED BU £5

Add this coin celebrating one of the UK’s most iconic Music Legends to your collection right now by clicking here.

I’m sure we could all use a bit of escapism right now, and so I invite you to join us on a trip far away as we return to Neverland for one last time…

Last year, the collecting world experienced the magic of the world’s first Peter Pan 50ps, issued by the Isle of Man and developed in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The unprecedented demand for these coins saw tens of thousands queuing to get their hands on the stunning new issues. And in just a matter of months, through the sales of these Peter Pan 50ps, collectors raised over £250,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Today I have some very exciting news to share with you, as the SECOND (and final) collection of British Isles Peter Pan 50ps have just been released!

2020 Peter Pan 50p BU Set

LAST EVER Peter Pan 50p

The FINAL Peter Pan 50p has been issued by The Isle of Man, continuing the 90th anniversary celebrations of author JM Barrie gifting his rights in the story to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

This brand new coin features an enchanting illustration of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell on the reverse design, created by David Wyatt and Matt Tindall.

Available in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, this coin comes encapsulated in official Peter Pan packaging.

2020 Peter Pan BU 50p

Or, for those collectors looking for a touch more magic, this coin is also available in stunning .925 Sterling Silver Proof quality, featuring coloured illustrations.

2020 Peter Pan SIlver 50p

Six BRAND NEW Coins

Excitingly, 5 more Peter Pan 50p coins have also been created this year and are available alongside the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell coin in this fantastic six coin set.

This year’s characters include:

  • Peter Pan and Tinker Bell
  • The Mermaid
  • Smee
  • The Jolly Roger
  • Peter Pan at the window
  • Tinker Bell

But which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

2020 Peter Pan BU 50p Set

The set is available in Brilliant Uncirculated quality and .925 Sterling Silver Proof quality, featuring those beautiful coloured illustrations.

These 50ps are only available as a set and if you don’t want to miss the chance to own them, you’ll need to act fast, as they have been issued with some incredibly low edition limits…

Strictly Limited Edition

These brand new 50ps are sure to sweep you off your feet, however what’s most exciting about the coins is that there are some very low edition limits for the Silver Proof versions

Silver 50p coins are, without doubt, the collector’s favourite and a sell-out is inevitable. Especially when you consider the edition limit for the single coin is just half of last year’s edition at 4,995 and the complete set is strictly limited to just 1,995 worldwide! So that’s the same quantity as last year’s edition limit which completely SOLD OUT.

2020 Peter Pan Silver 50p

In fact, even Silver Proof 50ps with much higher mintage figures often still result in sell-out stories.

For example, the UK Gruffalo 50p released in 2019 had a mintage of 25,000 and sold out at The Royal Mint in just a few hours after its release!

And so I wouldn’t be surprised to see demand for these brand new Silver Proof Peter Pan 50ps exceed the amount available.

Gold Proof Peter Pan 50p

For the creme-de-la-creme, and by far the most limited way to own this coin, a .916 Gold Proof version of the Peter Pan and Tinker Bell 50p has been issued.

This official new release has been given a strict edition limit of JUST 500 worldwide, MUCH LOWER than previous Gold Proof 50p sell-outs.

Just a handful of lucky collectors will have the chance to own this prestigious new Gold Proof coin.

2020 Peter Pan Gold Proof 50p

Can I find the Peter Pan 50ps in my change?

If you’re living on the Isle of Man, then yes!

25,000 of each coin will be entering circulation on the Isle of Man, but when you compare that to the mintage figures for UK coins (our rarest 50p in circulation has a mintage of 210,000) you’ll realise just how few of these coins are actually out there.

Coins issued on the Isle of Man typically have lower mintage figures due to the smaller population of just 84,000 which means that their coins are particularly sought-after amongst collectors.

And, based on the popularity of last year’s coins, I’m sure that British Isles collectors will be super quick to snap these ones up!

2020 Peter Pan Silver 50p Set

Peter Pan remains one of the most cherished and loved children’s stories of all time and if last year’s coins are anything to go by, I’m sure these new 50ps are going to be some of the most sought-after coins of the year.

As with last year’s coins, each has been developed in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity). For every coin or set sold a donation will go directly to GOSH Charity to help support the hospital and the seriously ill children from across the UK who are cared for there.


Secure your 2020 Peter Pan 50p coins today!

To discover the magic of these brand new 50ps and add the brand new Peter Pan 50ps to your collection, click here to see the full range.