Poll

What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?

Its actual size, at 28.4 mm, is just right
1 (16.7%)
It's somewhat too large
3 (50%)
It should be larger
0 (0%)
I have no opinion on the matter
2 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Voting closed: August 30, 2017, 03:26:22 PM

Author Topic: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?  (Read 594 times)

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Offline <k>

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What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« on: August 22, 2017, 03:26:22 PM »
I started an earlier poll about the 2 pound coin:

When should the first circulation 2 pound coin have been issued ?

and in it I learnt something I didn't know before:

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.

I knew that the round pound's size was based on the size of the sovereign. I didn't know that the size of the 2 pound coin was based on that of the double sovereign. I am not keen on this habit of looking backwards, but when the modern 2 pound coin came into being, it was simply a plain nickel-brass collector coin, so perhaps it was thought that this connection would make it more attractive to collectors. When an actual circulation 2 pound coin was issued, it was perhaps natural to look at the collector coin and use some of its characteristics.

The bimetallic content was probably added to make the circulation coin more secure. It also coincidentally makes the coin more attractive, especially to collectors. However, at 28.4 mm it was considerably larger than the round pound (22.5 mm). Usually, the Royal Mint considers that a minimum gap of 3 mm is necessary between coins of similar type. (The round pound was not bimetallic, but both coins were round, milled, and contained brass, and in terms of denomination, they were clearly related to each other). A gap of almost double that size was clearly unnecessary.

Given the commitment to a reasonably light coinage, I think it should have been smaller. The size in itself it not a problem, though I think 12 g is probably heavier than the heaviest coin ideally should be, by 4 or 5 grams. It is, however, the largest coin I would want to see in a modern system. That leaves a problem - what about leaving room for a 5 pound coin? It doesn't. You may say, as Alan does, that we have a polymer five pound note now, and that should last us for some years. However, we cannot predict the future and cannot rule anything out. If we have a return of higher inflation, it won't be long before a 5 pound coin is upon us.

The other factors include the surely imminent demise of the 1p and 2p coin. The Isle of Man and Gibraltar already seem to be preparing for that situation. Then there will probably be a new reign by the end of the 2020s, or perhaps earlier. It might then be decided that a total redesign should be given to the coinage structure. The 5p and 10p might become bronze. The 10p could even be reduced in size slightly, along with the 2 pound coin, to make way for the insertion of a 5 pound coin.

Alternatively, electronic money could make such strides that coins become history. Then again, QE may come back to haunt us and ultimately cause unintended consequences, such as hyperinflation, leading to economic collapse. Diminishing returns, scarcer and more expensive resources, along with excess pollution, environmental degradation and climate change, might lead to an increase in disorder in the world and end economic growth and hence capitalism. Many civilisations have collapsed throughout human history. After the Roman Empire collapsed, apparently the result was a Europe where there was no economic growth or general rise in living standards between the years 500 and 1200. Of course, if collapse comes, discussing the form that five pound coins should take will be least of our worries.

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Offline Alan71

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 07:58:45 PM »
The size it is is fine.

Can't see the 5p and 10p becoming bronze either.  It would amount to nothing more than a pointless colour change, being as 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p are all made of steel. 

Offline <k>

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 08:03:55 PM »
Can't see the 5p and 10p becoming bronze either.

Well, those nice New Zealanders made some of their coins a bronze colour in 2006 (or was it only one?), after reducing them in size and getting rid of some.
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Offline Alan71

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 09:27:23 PM »
They made the 10c copper plated, yes.  Not sure why they did that.  Like ours, it's copper-plated steel, with the 20c and 50c being nickel-plated steel.  I'm not sure why copper colour is seen as desirable for coins.  It discolours so rapidly.  In the old days it made sense as the metals were different, but it's now just the plating.

I'd like to think we can move away from such conventions of gold/silver/bronze to indicate value.  As none of the coins are those metals anymore, and two of them are the same, there shouldn't be a need to retain the copper colour.  It would make the 5p and 10p seem as worthless as the 1p and 2p are now, and for nothing more than a plating change.  The 5p can't really get any smaller than it is now and I certainly wouldn't welcome a larger copper-coloured coin.

Similar with notes.  Technology and materials have changed, so there shouldn't be a rush to replace notes with coins anymore.

Offline <k>

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 09:39:20 PM »
Complexity grows over time, in human affairs - and in the universe. Coins today have more differences because of advances in technology. The more differences there are between coins, the easier and quicker it is to tell them apart. Look at how the 3d, 6d, 1s, 2s and 2/6 all belonged to the same "family" in the UK in the 1920s: they were all round and silver. In Australia, when a large silver 50 cents coin was added to the coinage, the Australians couldn't deal with it, so it was made 12-sided.

I think the different colours have become traditional and are expected. Since more coins are being plated anyway, what does it matter if some get a different colour of plating? Eventually, coins wear out - entropy is a property of the universe. I see it as toning rather than discolouring, anyway.
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Offline Alan71

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 10:19:22 PM »
It should also be remembered that the circulation £2 was using similar specifications to the 1986-96 commemorative version.  Except that it was thinner and therefore 4g lighter!  That was quite a change considering the new coin was only 2.5g heavier than the £1.

Offline Alan71

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 10:24:21 PM »
I've probably posted this before, or you knew it all already, but this was from a 1994 Royal Mint Bulletin regarding the proposed changes to the 50p and introduction of a circulating £2.  The single metal £2, had it been chosen, would undoubtedly have been the same weight as the bi-meal version.


Offline <k>

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 10:25:08 PM »
Yes, I knew that, and it made sense to make the circulation version that bit thinner and lighter. I still think over 8 g is unnecessary for a modern coin.
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Offline <k>

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 10:26:46 PM »
Yes, I was following all these pamphlets avidly from 1985 onwards, and I was posting about them on this forum when you were just an egg.  8)
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Offline onecenter

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Re: What size should the circulation 2 pound have been ?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 01:00:25 AM »
I've probably posted this before, or you knew it all already, but this was from a 1994 Royal Mint Bulletin regarding the proposed changes to the 50p and introduction of a circulating £2.  The single metal £2, had it been chosen, would undoubtedly have been the same weight as the bi-meal version.


That Royal Mint Trial piece looks very similar to New Zealand's 50-cent bimetallic coin issued for just one year in 1994.
Mark