Poll

When should the circulating 2 pound coin have been introduced ?

1984 - a year after the issue of the round pound
0 (0%)
1985 - to give the round pound more time to become accepted
1 (33.3%)
Late 1980s
2 (66.7%)
Early 1990s
0 (0%)
1997 / 1998 was just right
0 (0%)
I am neutral on the issue
0 (0%)
Don't know
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Voting closed: August 27, 2017, 12:06:10 PM

Author Topic: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?  (Read 1135 times)

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Offline <k>

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When the round pound was issued in 1983, it was small (22.5 mm) but chunky. It had a thickness of 3.15 mm and weighed 9 g. This compared to 13.5 g for the large 50p (30 mm) and 11.3 g for the large 10p. The next heaviest coin was the 2p, at 7.1 g.

The round pound was originally scheduled to have a thickness of 2.5 mm, but in tests the trial piece was often confused with the large 5p. Trial pieces with first 2.7 mm then 2.9 mm thickness reduced this confusion somewhat, but eventually a 3.15 mm thickness was found to be necessary. The result was that the round pound was rather heavy and bulky. Getting four in change from a £5 note was not convenient. However, it was not until 1997 that the first 2 pound coin was minted. Even then, there were "problems with the electronic signature", so its issue had to be postponed until 1998.

For several years after 1998, I found that being given 2 pound coins in change, rather than multiples of pound coins, was a rare occurrence. It evidently took a long time for a sufficient number of them to build up in circulation.

So here are my questions:

1] When do you think the first circulating 2 pound coin should have been issued?

2] Do you know the full details behind this rather vague concept of "problems with the electronic signature" ?

3] Did you also feel that there were not sufficient 2 pound coins in circulation for several - or even many - years after 1998?
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Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2017, 12:13:38 PM »
I've gone for "1985 - to give the round pound more time to become accepted". Bear in mind that the 1 pound note was not demonetised until 1987. I believe that the notes were no longer printed after 1982, but I am not sure.

Yes, the pound coin did need a little time to bed in. However, a 2 pound coin was a natural companion to the round pound. At the time, I did not appreciate getting four chunky pound coins in change. I did not understand why they had to be so thick and heavy. I now appreciate that the round pound was close in size to the 5p, and its additional thickness was also required as an aid to the blind. But all the available "slots" for new coins were quite crowded, and the only option was to make new coins sufficiently distinctive in shape and/or colour and/or thickness.

Nonetheless, the long wait until 1998, for the 2 pound coin, was quite ridiculous. Nor have I ever understood this "electronic signature" excuse for its delayed issue, since I have never seen it explained in detail.

 
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 02:35:31 PM by <k> »
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Online Alan71

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 02:51:04 PM »
I went for late 80s.  Not sure how feasible it is though as doesn't its size clash a bit with the old 10p?

In some ways I would have liked it simultaneously with the £1.  Having finally dealt with the 20p issue a year before, and removing the need for up to four 10p coins to be given in change (more if no 50p coins were available), they then create a similar situation again.  It similarly took 14 (intended) years to rectify this, matching the time period before the 20p was issued after the 10p introduction in 1968 (though the half crown circulated for the first 18 months or so of this).

I still find there are not enough £2 coins in circulation even today.  Just this morning I got four of the new £1 coins in change (due to having to pay for something costing £1 with a £5 note).  What really should have happened in 1998 was that no more £1 coins were issued.  This would mirror what happened with the old 10p from 1982.  Indeed, things looked promising on this front when no £1 coins dated 1998 or 1999 were issued for circulation.  The £2 coin was being issued in relatively low numbers.  The 1998 issue was the largest at 91 million (with a further 13 million dated 1997) but this pales against the 443 million £1 coins of 1983, and a further 146 million in 1984 and 228 million in 1985.  The £2 coin, in contrast, added 39 million dated 1999 and 26 million in 2000.

In an ideal world, millions of £1 coins would have been leading an idle life in bank vaults (just as the old 10p had done from 1982) and the £2 issued in huge numbers to compensate.  This never happened, and instead, new £1 coins were issued in large numbers from 2000 onwards.  1998 and 1999 remain the only dates where no £1 coins (of either type) were issued.

The new £1 coin should have presented the perfect opportunity to right the wrong.  Issue this coin in smaller numbers and instead, issue the £2 in far higher numbers as the old £1 is withdrawn.  This isn't happening either, and it's likely that, from October, we'll have roughly the same numbers of new £1 coins circulating as we had with the old.  An opportunity has been wasted, hence me getting four new £1 coins in change today!

I'd also wondered if the change of design for the standard £2 coin in 2015 was in preparation for it to be issued in massive numbers to replace many of the £1 coins.  This made sense as it would effectively have been a re-launch for the £2.  The new Britannia £2 would become the one most commonly encountered in change once the new £1 was introduced.  However, as I'm uninspired by the Britannia design, I'm not too fussed about that not being the case.

Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2017, 03:03:40 PM »
I went for late 80s.  Not sure how feasible it is though as doesn't its size clash a bit with the old 10p?

Good point. However, the Royal Mint would have started from that point, and perhaps issued a smaller brass 2 pound coin, of say 25.5 mm. That would have been 3 mm larger than the round pound and 3 mm smaller than the large 10p. Milled edges and a bit of thickness would have distinguished it from the 2p, which is 25.9 mm. However, it is unlikely that the coin would have been bimetallic, at that early date.

The other option would have been to postpone introduction of a £2 coin slightly but reduce the 10p first.
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Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2017, 03:06:44 PM »
I still find there are not enough £2 coins in circulation even today.  Just this morning I got four of the new £1 coins in change (due to having to pay for something costing £1 with a £5 note).  What really should have happened in 1998 was that no more £1 coins were issued.

It's true enough, actually. I often get four 12-sided pounds from the self-service machine at supermarkets. I've noticed that these machines prefer to dole out multiples, tho - they usually give me four pennies rather than two 2p pieces - annoying.
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Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 03:10:05 PM »
I'd also wondered if the change of design for the standard £2 coin in 2015 was in preparation for it to be issued in massive numbers to replace many of the £1 coins.  This made sense as it would effectively have been a re-launch for the £2.  The new Britannia £2 would become the one most commonly encountered in change once the new £1 was introduced.  However, as I'm uninspired by the Britannia design, I'm not too fussed about that not being the case.

Given our experience on the ground, that is evidently not the case, tho it's an interesting idea. I've yet to receive a Britannia 2 pounds, but she's probably avoiding me because of the many spiteful things I've said about her. No am I inspired by the design, either.
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Online Alan71

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 10:31:05 PM »
According to Wikipedia, the numbers of coins in circulation as of March 2014 are as follows:

417 million £2 coins

1,553 million round £1 coins (figures for the 12-sided £1 coin are almost certainly going to end up similar)

948 million 50p coins

2,765 million 20p coins

1,631 million 10p coins

3,847 million 5p coins

6,550 million 2p coins

11,278 million 1p coins

There are therefore more than three times as many £1 coins than £2 ones.  Contrast this with the 20p and 10p where there are more than 1100 million more 20p coins than 10p pieces and it's not hard to understand why change is more likely to be given in 20p and £1 pieces than it is in 10p and £2.

It's true that, like the £2 and £1, the 2p and 1p circulate more in the lower value's favour, but this is possibly because of the high number of prices ending in 99p.  The £2 and £1 have much more in common with the 20p and 10p than either pairing does with the 2p and 1p.


Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2017, 10:43:06 PM »
Excellent research. Usually mintages send me to sleep, but you've drawn some insightful conclusions from them.
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Online Alan71

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 11:09:46 PM »
It does annoy me that those in charge of deciding numbers of coins to be issued aren't seeing what, to me anyway, is glaringly obvious.  Maybe no one is thinking of the bigger picture.  They're not seeing the figures for £2 coins in comparison to £1 and are just going with "we need to replace every round pound in circulation with a 12-sided version".  Maybe those in charge don't actually use cash and therefore don't realise.

It's rare to get more than one 10p coin in change from one transaction, and that's exactly as it should be.  The same doesn't look likely to ever be the case for the £1.

Maximum numbers of denominations you should receive in change from any one transaction:

£2 - two (if paying for something costing £1 or £6 with a £10)
£1 - one (costing £2, £4, £7 or £9 if paid for by a note)
50p - one
20p - two (costing 10p or 60p if paid by 50p, £1, £2 or note)
10p - one (costing 20p, 40p, 70p or 90p if paid by 50p, £1, £2 or note)
5p - one
2p - two (transactions ending in 1p or 6p if paid by any higher denomination)
1p - one (transactions ending in 2p, 4p, 7p or 9p if paid by any higher denomination) - however, this denomination has a much higher demand due to number of prices ending in 99p.

Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2017, 11:24:04 PM »
It makes me wonder if there are some constraints operating. Does the Mint have all the staff and materials it needs? Are there pressing contracts overseas that have to take priority? This I don't know.
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Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 02:21:52 PM »
   Denom      Diam      Metal      Shape      Weight      Thickness   
   £1      22.5mm      Yellow      Round      9.5g      3.15mm   
   £2      28.4mm      Yellow/White      Round      12.0g      2.50mm   



Here's another point about the 2 pound coin. Above are the sizes of the round pound (which is being replaced this year, 2017) and 2 pound coin. The Royal Mint likes to maintain a minimum difference of 3 mm in diameter between similar coins. You could say the 2 pound coin was similar to the round pound, in that it has a brass outer part and was also round. However, the almost 6 mm gap seems excessive. Where is the room for the 5 pound coin of the future? Maybe the Mint thought that was so far into the future that the whole set would be redesigned first, i.e. no 1p and 2p and smaller coins - or some copper-nickel coins made bronze (or bronze-plated). 

Anyway, the 2 pound's size and weight is not excessive, but it's at the limit of what I'd like to see. Probably a 26.5 mm bimetallic coin would have been adequate, to avoid the size of our extra-large 2p coin.
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Online Alan71

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 09:46:12 PM »
Aren't both the £1 and £2 sizes approximately based on the sovereign and double-sovereign?  Certainly the £2 coin is, to the point that commemorative £2 coin designs have been used in sovereign sets for the double-sovereign.  Therefore I think the size is fine.  As for a £5 circulation coin - no, no, no (and yes, I am quoting Thatcher - of all people - there).  Hopefully the polymer notes have put paid to that idea for a very long time.

Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 10:02:48 PM »
Aren't both the £1 and £2 sizes approximately based on the sovereign and double-sovereign?

Yes, you are right, but I've never seen a bimetallic double sovereign. Why we should continually have to hark back to the past in this country, I don't know. Do the British still also enjoy driving bubble cars and waxing their moustaches? The 12-sided threepence and heptagonal 50p would never have been invented if we looked backwards all the time.
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Online Alan71

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2017, 10:39:05 AM »
When the Commonwealth Games £2 was issued in 1986, my mum (who was a bit of a coin collector herself) got two of them in Brilliant Uncirculated packs.  They were in Dairy Crest packaging so she probably got them free in a promotion.

At the time, we got the wrong end of the stick and assumed that, because they were legal tender, they would freely circulate.  In effect become a new circulating denomination.  Same in 1989.  I remember being quite disappointed that that clearly wasn't the case.  When the circulation £2 finally came in 1997 (delayed until 1998) it was not a moment too soon.  It seemed completely right back in 1986. I'm glad the eventual coin was thinner and therefore lighter than the commemorative version, but the denomination itself was right.

I wish I had the answer on what the problem with the £2 is.  Why it didn't circulate in big enough numbers and has been further sidelined by the new £1.  Since the new £1 appeared in March, I get fewer and fewer £2 coins in change.  The ones I do get tend to be older coins, so don't look good against the nice and shiny new pounds.

As I said in another topic, if the £2 coin was withdrawn tomorrow, I'm not sure I'd really miss it.  I love the actual coin itself, but I get so few of them these days and I'm becoming convinced that the new £1 is being issued in greater numbers than the old coins that were still in circulation in March. 

I just don't understand it at all.  The only saving grace in all of this is that the nasty, old and worn £1 coins will soon be gone.  It's slightly easier at present to get nine new £1 coins in change than old ones, but this won't last.  They'll soon become worn and discoloured.  And it won't be long before I'm secretly wanting to throw the coins back into the face of an apologetic shop assistant!  Having said that, the new £5 note seems to be more common than the old, so it tends to be just four £1 coins these days.

Offline <k>

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Re: When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2017, 01:32:06 PM »
I wish I had the answer on what the problem with the £2 is.

That poor coin. You are always complaining about it. The Royal Mint will probably stoneball you now.
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