After a review of the United Kingdom coinage in 1994, it emerged that there was a requirement for a £2 coin to enter general circulation.
After extensive consultation, it was decided this would be a bi-colour coin, making it easily distinguishable from the other coins in circulation.
Originally, the intention was to issue the £2 coin in November 1997. However, concerns emerged from the vending industry over their size. The £2 coin was eventually launched on 15 June 1998, with millions of the coin released into circulation.
Since then we’ve seen over 35 different designs enter circulation!
And in 2022, the bi-metallic £2 coin celebrates its 25th birthday!
£2 coin vote – winning design revealed!
We asked you to vote for your favourite bi-metallic £2 coin design and the results are in!
Our winning coin design is the Great Fire of London £2, taking an impressive 17% of all votes! This coin was issued in 2016 to mark the 350th anniversary of one of the most well-known disasters to hit London.
However, three years after this coin was issued into circulation, it was revealed that its mintage figure was mistakenly listed and the coin is in fact rarer than once thought…
The previous figure of 5,135,000 meant this coin was fairly common but the updated figure of 1,625,000, makes this coin one of the rarest £2 coins in circulation!
Did your favourite coin design make the top 5? Let us know in the comments below!
Never miss a UK coin issue!
Tomorrow the new £1 coin will be released into circulation around the UK, sparking a new flurry of interest in coins from the general public.
Just like the polymer fiver back in September, the new £1 is sure to create excitement across the UK as people get their hands on the new coins for the first time.
So here’s what to look out for when you find one:
It’s also worth looking out for the date on your £1 when you find one in your change. The Royal Mint have confirmed that at least 1.4 billion £1 coins in total will enter circulation, but half a billion of these £1 coins will be dated 2016.
When you do find your first pound make sure you post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #foundapound, and also tag the location you found it!
What coin is changing, and when?
The Royal Mint is issuing a 12-sided £1 coin resembling the old three-penny bit which will enter circulation in March, 2017.
At the moment there are no other plans to change any other circulating coins but Her Majesty’s Treasury and The Royal Mint keep the specifications and denominational mix of UK circulating coins under continual review.
How will the new coin change?
The new £1 coin will feature 12 sides and is billed to become the most secure circulating coin in the world.
They will feature added security features including:
- 12 sides – A non-round design makes it harder to copy, and is already used in our 50p and 20p coins, as well as in coins abroad.
- Two metals – The outside will be nickel-brass, and the inside nickel-plated solid alloy. The Government believes this combination of two metals PLUS 12 sides will be the killer security feature.
- Hidden messages – The nickel plating is especially designed to be hard for forgers to remove and iSIS plated coins can include secret electromagnetic signatures.
- A bigger diameter – The new £1 will be just slightly bigger, at 23.43mm from point to point. The 12 sides means its diameter will also be uneven.
- Milled edges – The new £1 coin will have milled edges – grooves in the side of the coin as well as an edge inscription.
- Secret Images – Known as latent images, these are pictures etched into the metal that only become visible when tipped in the light.
What size will the new pound coin be?
The current round £1 coin is 22.5mm in diameter. The new 12-sided £1 coin will be just slightly bigger, at 23.43mm from point to point. The 12 sides means its diameter will also be uneven.
What design will appear on the new coin?
The 12-sided £1 coin will feature a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a royal coronet.
The coin has been designed by schoolboy David Pearce which was picked after a public competition and has been adapted by professional artist David Lawrence.
What will happen to my old £1 coin?
The round pound coins will start to be withdrawn from circulation as the 12-sided coins are introduced. Following the six-month co-circulation period, legal tender status of the existing £1 will be withdrawn.
What happens if I still have old pound coins after legal tender status has been withdrawn?
After the six month co-circulation period, round £1 coins will no longer be able to be used as payment and will cease to be legal tender.
Will I be able to use the coin in the same way?
Yes. The 12-sided pound coins can be used in the same way as the current pounds. For example, they will be available from banks and can be used in self-service checkout tills and parking payment machines. Rigorous rolling tests have been carried out to ensure they will work in vending machines.
Why bother changing it?
One Pound coins were first issued in 1983, but one in every thirty £1 coins is now a fake. These forgeries cost the Government £2million every year.
The new 12-sided £1 coin will be an ultra-secure replacement which will be harder for forgers to copy. They will also last 5 years longer than the current round pound coins.
Will they be collectable?
Like any new issues, collectors will be keen to own the very first design of any new coin. Pound coins with the 2017 date are likely to be more sought after – especially in good condition or uncirculated.