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UK Decimals: Legend Variations on the 2 Pound Coins

Started by <k>, March 19, 2017, 04:04:05 PM

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Two Pounds
Commemoratives 1986 to 2006 use the same obverse, but the 2006 Football one has no rim or beading, so inscription is much closer to the edge, rendering everything larger   
Obverse 1 
Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina F D, starting bottom left.   
Obverse 2   
Elizabeth II Dei Gra Reg Fid Def, starting bottom left   
1998-2015 Standard Technology   
All commemoratives 1999 to 2006 and 2007 Act of Union, plus three others to 2014   
Obverse 3  
Elizabeth II D G Reg Fid Def, starting south west and ending south-east, with Two Pounds running along the gap at the bottom.   
Debut: 2007 Slave Trade   
2008 Olympics 1908 Centenary - Obverse 2   
2008 Beijing 2008 to London 2012 handover - Obverse 3   
2009 Charles Darwin - Obverse 2   
Obverse 4  
Elizabeth II D G Reg Fid Def, starting south-west and ending south-east, with the Date in the gap   
Debut: 2009 Robert Burns   
2010 Florence Nightingale - obverse 4   
2011 Mary Rose - obverse 4   
2011 King James Bible obverse 3   
Obverse 5   
Elizabeth II D G Reg Fid Def, starting just below 08:45 and ending just below 03:15, with Two Pounds Date running in the gap   
Debut: 2012 Charles Dickens   
and also: 2012 London to Rio Olympics Handover   
2013 Golden Guinea - obverse 3   
2013 both London Underground - obverse 3   
2014 Trinity House - obverse 2   
2014 WW1 Your Country Needs You - obverse 3   
Obverse 6 
New Jody Clark standard obverse   
Elizabeth II Dei Gra Reg Fid Def Date, starting top right   
2015 onwards - Britannia standard   
Obverse 7  
Elizabeth II D G Reg F D Two Pounds Date, starting top right.   
Debut: 2015 Magna Carta   
2015 WW1 Royal Navy (IRB sets version) - obverse 3   
2015 Magna Carta (IRB sets version) - obverse 5   
Obverse 8  
Elizabeth II D G Reg F D 2 Pounds, starting top right   
Debut: 2015 WW1 Royal Navy   
2016 WW1 The Army - obverse 8   
Obverse 9   
Elizabeth II Dei Gra Regina Fid Def, starting top right (Date and denomination on reverse)   
Debut: 2016 Great Fire of London   
2016 all three Shakespeare - obverse 8   
2017 Jane Austen - obverse 6 (first Jody Clark commemorative to use standard obverse)   
Obverse 10   
Elizabeth II D G Reg F D 2 Pounds Date (similar to obverse 7 but with "2" instead of "Two"   
Debut: 2017 WW1 Aviation   

2018 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - obverse 8
2018 Royal Air Force - obverse 8
2018 World War 1 Armistice - obverse 6
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.


Original Single-Metal Commemoratives 1986 to 1996

The original commemorative £2 used the same obverse for its entire seven-coin run from 1986 to 1996, but the final one in 1996 had no beading or teeth, and indeed no prominent rim (there is a rim there but it's thin).  This was to match its reverse design, the bowl-like effect football for Euro 96.

My football coin isn't in the best of condition, though it was obtained new from a post office.  I have BU, proof and silver versions but all my photos are from my own collection of coins taken out of circulation when they were newly issued.  The other coin is the Scottish Claim of Right from 1989.


Obverse 1

Obverse 2

Obverse 1, the Maklouf one-year type from 1997.  I hadn't realised until I think it was <k> that pointed it out, that the inscription is the same as the earlier commemorative version.  Thankfully they chose to move the "Two Pounds" to the reverse.

Obverse 2 is the familiar Ian Rank-Broadley one from 1998 which amended the inscription to the one that (with the date) now appears on all standard Jody Clark obverses.  This version was used on the standard coins 1998 to 2015, all commemoratives up to and including 2006, the Act of Union in 2007, the 2008 Olympics London 1908 centenary, the 2009 Charles Darwin and one final comeback in 2014 for Trinity House.


Obverse 3

Presumably, up until 2006, the design brief for commemoratives was that the denomination and date must be included in the reverse design so that the obverse could match the standard version.  This brief clearly went out of the window starting in 2007, with designers free to include one or both, or none at all.

Obverse 3. The 2007 Abolition of the Slave Trade anniversary was the first bi-metal commemorative £2 to have the denomination on the obverse.  Unlike the 1986-96 commemoratives, the Queen's titles were in shorter abbreviations.

After its 2007 debut, this obverse went on to appear on the 2008 Beijing to London Olympic handover, the 2011 King James Bible, the 2013 Golden Guinea, both 2013 London Underground, the 2014 World War 1 Recruitment ("Your Country Needs You"), and finally the IRB-sets version of the 2015 World War 1 Royal Navy coin (this version was not issued to circulation).


Obverse 4

Obverse 4 of the bi-metal version sees the date move to the obverse instead of the denomination.  This was used  three times.  Its 2009 debut was on the Robert Burns, followed by the Florence Nightingale in 2010 and the Mary Rose in 2011.


Obverse 5

Obverse 5 sees the inevitable inclusion of both the denomination and date.  The inscription isn't as squashed as it is on a 50p version due to the crown and neck not getting in the way.

Its debut was on the 2012 Charles Dickens coin, and later in the year on the London to Rio Olympic handover.  It didn't appear again until the 2015 IRB-sets version of the Magna Carta, which was not struck for circulation.


Obverse 6

Obverse 6 debuted on the new Jody Clark portrait, new Britannia reverse £2 in 2015, which saw the date move to the obverse giving it the same inscription as the other seven circulating denominations (the new £1 coin has nicely ruined that uniformity though).

The first commemorative to use this new standard obverse is the Jane Austen in 2017.  It's not yet in widespread circulation but it's unlikely to be changed.  This was followed up in 2018 by the World War 1 Armistice version.

Obverse 6 could be seen as the Jody Clark equivalent of Obverse 4.

(As the version used on the standard Britannia £2 coin, this is the replacement for Obverse 2 on the Technology standard coin).


Obverse 7

Obverse 7 appears to be a one-off.  Its only use so far has been on the circulation version of the 2015 Magna Carta (the earlier sets version had included the IRB portrait).   Perhaps the Royal Mint was experimenting with obverse inscriptions, as it appears to have been replaced by the similar Obverse 10 (more on that later).

This is effectively the Jody Clark version of Obverse 5.


Obverse 8

Obverse 8 appeared in the same year as Obverse 7 (2015) but despite having more space to spread out in because of not needing to worry about the date, the denomination is rendered as "2 Pounds".  Obverse 7 made a meal of it by showing it as "Two Pounds".

Following its debut on the 2015 Royal Navy (circulation version - the earlier sets version had included the IRB portrait) it went on to appear on 2016 The Army and all three 2016 Shakespeare coins.

Obverse 8 is used again on two 2018 commemoratives: the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Royal Air Force Centenary.

The Jody Clark equivalent of Obverse 3.


Obverse 9

Obverse 9 shows us what a standard obverse might have looked like had the Technology reverse been retained.  This appeared on the 2016 Great Fire of London.

The Jody Clark version of Obverse 2, but likely to see very little usage in comparison with its IRB counterpart.

(In terms of the two standard £2 coins past and present, Obverse 9 is not the replacement for Obverse 2).


Obverse 10

New for 2017 is Obverse 10, used on the World War 1 Aviation.  Presumably the Mint had decided that the denomination rendered in words when the date had to be included as well (Obverse 7) was too much, and also it fits the format of the dateless Obverse 8.

Although not yet in circulation, it's unlikely this obverse will change.  The only changes from sets versions to circulation versions I'm aware of are the 2015 range, but that was due to the change of portrait.  Chinese fakes may include the wrong obverse for the type.

As a possible replacement for Obverse 7, it's the second Jody Clark version of Obverse 5.  However, it's too early to say that Obverse 7 will never return.  The lack of consistency at the Royal Mint these days means that anything is possible.

If counted as a separate Obverse type (which I would) then the Jody Clark has now overtaken the Ian Rank-Broadley with five obverses to four.  The fourth and last IRB was introduced in the 15th year of the portrait (2012).  We are only into the third year of the Jody Clark and we've already seen five.


Posts updated to add details of 2018-dated commemoratives.