[The Full Set - image by Mik]
The first two pound coin was released in 1986 but it wasn’t until 1997 that this denomination took on the bimetallic format we all know so well today. In this eleven year period of single colour coins, a total of seven commemorative designs were issued. Although these were, and still are legal tender, the chances of coming across one in your change are pretty remote.
Some numismatists will collect these coins, whilst others express no great interest in them at all. In fact, as surprising as it is, these two pounds are rarely even mentioned by many people which is a shame because they are actually some of the nicest designs we have ever had.
If you are collecting these, I would offer you two pieces of advice - i) because of the type of metal that was used to make them (nickel-brass) they are prone to rust spots and ii) a lot of people ‘solve’ this problem by scrubbing them to death with Brasso. So take great care, and inspect any potential purchases very carefully…..
Single colour two pound coins weigh in at 16g whereas present day ones are lighter at 12g. It may not sound so different but they could soon make a difference if you were carrying a few in one pocket.
1986 Thistle or Scotland Commonwealth Games
The very first two pound coin to ever be issued in the UK. This design was released to celebrate the 1986 Commonwealth Games. A slightly higher mintage compared to that of the far more sought-after Commonwealth coins from 2002. This one was 8,212,184 making it the least scarce single colour two pound coin of all.
1989 Bill of Rights
This coin has a nice mace and WM monogram design. The design features the English crown (see below for more info). Mintage is 4,432,000.
1989 Claim of Rights
This is the sister coin of Bill of Rights. The design is basically the same and the only differences are the crowns atop the monogram and the lettering around the outside of the motiff. Claim of Rights has the Scottish crown.
With a mintage of only 346,000 it is not difficult to see why this is the most valuable of old single colour two pounds. And if you do hear anyone discussing any of these coins then the chances are it will be this one they are talking about.
1994 Bank of England
Designed by Leslie Durbin this coin features Britannia seated below a WM monogram. It’s mintage was pretty low at 1,443,116 - low enough to make it the second rarest of these seven single colour coins.
1995 Dove of Peace
John W Mills’ beautiful design of a dove with an olive branch. The edge reads – 1945 IN PEACE GOODWILL 1995. Had a mintage of exactly 5,000,000.
1995 Flags and UN Globe
A lovely design by Michael Rizzello featuring flags and the symbol of the United Nations. It had a mintage of 1,750,000.
Another very effective John Mills design. The entire coin represents a football to commemorate the tenth European Championship. 5,141,350 of these were minted.
© Article and images (where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019