£2 coins

Looking back at Britain’s much loved commemorative £2 coins…

£2 coins were released 1986, when this brand new denomination was introduced for the very first time.

The XIII Commonwealth Games was the first commemorative £2 coin and was issued for a non-royal event which gripped the nation. I can only imagine what an exciting time it must have been for people to discover these brand new coins which marked such a significant change in the UK’s commemorative coin issuing strategy.

These coins are considered rare due to the fact that although are legal tender, they were never common in everyday circulation and were struck mainly for collectors.

Six more single coloured £2 coins were struck over the next 10 years before the introduction of the fully circulating bi-metallic £2 denomination in 1998, which has seen 47 different designs in total so far.

So, let’s take a step back in time to 1986 and delve into the history of Britain’s commemorative £2 coins…

Commonwealth Games £2

Commonwealth Games - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

Commonwealth Games. Mintage: 8,212,184. Years of issue: 1986

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.

Untitled - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

In 1689, Prince William and Mary accepted the Declaration of Rights prior to being offered the throne, which effectively shifted the balance of power from the Crown to Parliament and changed the course of British political history. These £2 coins were issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this landmark Act. There were 2 versions of each coin issued – English and Scottish. The English reverse designs features the Crown of St Edward and the inscription ‘Tercentenary of the Claim of Right’ and ‘Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights’ respectively.

Bank of England £2

Bank of England - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

Bank of England. Mintage: 1,443,116. Years of issue: 1994

When William and Mary came to the throne in 1689, 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.
Edge Inscriptions: SIC VOS NON VOBIS (thus you labour but not for yourselves)

Peace £2

Peace - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

Peace. Mintage: 4,394,566. Years of issue: 1995

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”.
Edge Inscriptions: 1945 IN PEACE GOODWILL 1995

United Nations £2

United Nations - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

United Nations. Mintage: 1,668,575. Years of issue: 1995

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.

Football £2

Football - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...

Football. Mintage: 5,141,350. Years of issue: 1996

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, 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.

Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the new bi-metallic coin was introduced on the 15th June 1998.

As the first bi-metallic coin ever used in the UK, the £2 yet again revolutionised Britain’s coinage and changed the face of these incredibly popular coins, allowing them to be both commemorative and circulated, which has had a great impact for collectors who are able to find these coins in their change.

Do you have any of the above £2 coins?


Picture2 - Looking back at Britain's much loved commemorative £2 coins...


Complete your collection of these £2 coins and see all UK coins which are no longer in circulation here >>

Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!

Today marks 20 years since the bi-metallic £2 coins were released into circulation. So to celebrate our much loved £2 coins, we’ve taken a look back at the history of the £2 coin.

£2 coins have been in circulation since 1986, when a commemorative coin was issued to mark the XIII Commonwealth Games. Although these coins are legal tender, they were never common in everyday circulation.


Commonwealth Games - Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!

Commonwealth Games £2 issued in 1986.


Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the new bi-metallic coin was introduced on the 15th June 1998.

This was the first time bi-metallic coinage was used in the UK.

The first ‘Technology’ £2 coins were designed by Bruce Rushin using concentric circles to represent mankind’s technological evolution from the Iron Age at the centre, to the cogs and wheels in the first ring representing the Industrial Revolution. The next ring symbolises the computer age with a pattern derived from a silicon chip and the final outer ring represents the age of the Internet with a connecting web of lines.

technology - Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!

The ‘Technology’ coin was the first bi-metallic £2 and was designed by Bruce Rushin

The Queen with a Necklace £2

The first of these ‘Technology’ £2 coins were actually dated 1997 which earned the coin the nickname the ‘Queen with a Necklace’ £2 which has an enduring legacy in the collecting world. As the first bi-metallic £2 coins were issued in 1997, just prior to the Queen’s portrait change in 1998, this meant that the older portrait by Raphael Maklouf was only used for one year: 1997.

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1997 ‘Queen with a necklace’ portrait designed by Raphael Maklouf.

His version featured Queen Elizabeth II wearing a necklace, which is how the nickname was derived and they were snapped up by collectors on release in the belief they would go on to become a future rarity. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and as it turned out, the coin had a mintage of nearly 14 million.

There are a few stories which crop up more often than others, and to help dispel some of the myths about the £2 coins you can find in your change, you can read our blog here.

This Technology design was used on £2 coins every year from 1997 until 2015 when it was replaced by Britannia. Britannia has a long standing history with British coinage having first appeared on a 1672 Farthing during the reign of Charles II. Antony Dufort’s modern interpretation of Britannia features on Britain’s highest denomination circulating coin, the £2, which was a very popular move from The Royal Mint.

What’s so special about the 2015 Britannia £2?

Britannia 1 300x300 - Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!

Antony Dufort’s modern interpretation of Britannia.

However, it wasn’t until 2016 when The Mint released the mintage figures for the 2015 coins that the real surprise was unveiled.

Britannia 2 pound Mintage 1024x636 1 1024x636 - Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!

Only 650,000 of the 2015 date Britannia £2 coins had been stuck for circulation, making it one of the most scarce UK £2 coins ever! So scarce in fact that there were fewer of this coin than the England and the Scotland coins from the famous 2002 Commonwealth Games series.

The UK 2015 Britannia £2 Coin

Britannia 300x208 - Happy Birthday to the £2 coin!Own one of the most-scarce circulating £2 coins ever issued

This first-year 2015 £2 Britannia is already one of the most-scarce circulating £2 coins ever issued with just 650,000 coins passing through banks and cash centres.

That places it third equal in the all-time low mintage charts!

Secure one for your collection today >>

Embark on a Voyage to Discover the NEW £2 Captain Cook Coin Collection

In the summer of 1768, British explorer, Captain Cook set sail for the ‘Great South Land’ on his famous Voyage of Discovery.

250 years on, Captain Cook’s extraordinary travels are being celebrated with a unique coin series to feature three beautifully designed £2 coins.

This is the first time Captain Cook has appeared on a UK coin, making the collection very unique.

His famous ship, HM Bark Endeavour features on the design and, just like a secret map, when all three coins in the collection are placed together the design can be seen as a whole.

The first of the three coins is now available to purchase, with the second and third due to be released in 2019 and 2020.


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Cook’s great expeditions to the South Seas had a hidden agenda –  carrying secret orders from the British Admiralty who hoped for him to discover ‘a Continent or Land of great extent’ to take possession of ‘in the Name of the King of Great Britain’.

On each epic journey, Cook made spectacular discoveries which expanded the understanding of the world beyond known horizons.

Artefacts such as maps, logs, paintings and journals recorded during Cook’s voyages revealed a new and exciting world, transforming the European view of the Pacific Ocean.

By 1770, his first voyage aboard the Endeavour brought Cook to the southern coast of New South Wales and from there he continued northwards, charting Australia’s eastern coastline.

On the 22nd August 1770, Captain Cook fulfilled his mission and claimed the eastern Australian continent for Great Britain.

However, the intrepid voyager did not stop there. He embarked upon two more expeditions in 1772 and 1776 to find an inhabited southern continent in the Antarctic Circle and a passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


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Captain Cook claiming the eastern Australian continent for the British Crown in 1770. Credit: The Times


Secure the first Captain Cook £2 coin

Picture2 1 - Embark on a Voyage to Discover the NEW £2 Captain Cook Coin Collection

You can now own the first £2 coin to commemorate Captain Cook’s Voyage of Discovery. 

To secure the first coin in the £2 series click here >>