Only one £2 coin was issued dated 1997. It is the only £2 coin that
features the 3rd coin portrait of the Queen, by Raphael Maklouf. There
were rumours at the time that this coin was in some way rare, because it
showed the Queen ‘wearing a necklace’ (i.e. featured the Maklouf
portrait). It was introduced into circulation later than planned, in the
middle of 1998* and at the same time as the 1998 dated coin with the 4th
portrait of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley. I think this confused the
public a little and it got people paying many times face value for them.
The 1997 dated coin was struck in large numbers and is not rare.
The planned release date was
November 1997 but had to be postponed until the 15th June 1998 following a
potential problem with the 'electronic signature' of the coin. This is the
actual wording from the Royal Mint's website back in 1998.
'Countdown for the £2 circulating coin:
launch date imminent
The introduction of the first British bi-colour coin - the new £2 - will
take place on Monday 15 June 1998.
At a meeting with representatives of the vending industry, the Royal Mint
reported on the success of a series of tests. These have been carried out
since the £2 coin's original launch date of November 1997 was postponed
because of a potential problem with the 'electronic signature' of the coin
in vending and other machines, particularly older models. (Vending
machines incorporate electronic sensors which check not just a coin's
physical dimensions but also the metal composition by measuring its
resistance to an electric current - this is known as the 'electronic
The Royal Mint has now overcome these initial problems by minor
adjustments in the production process. As a result the £2 coins can be
produced which are expected to achieve high levels of acceptance in the
vending, gaming and pay phone machines which were pre-set by some of the
mechanism manufacturers last summer.
Mr Roger Holmes, Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, said that the Royal Mint
was pleased that its continuing work in close co-operation with the
vending industry had enabled it to overcome the problems. "We are looking
forward now to seeing this outstanding new coin in circulation later this
year," he added.
Fifty representatives of the coin mechanism manufacturers and vending
operators who attended the meeting welcomed the Royal Mint's
1997 saw the introduction of a £2 coin into general circulation. Using
state-of-the-art technology, the coin comprises two separate components of
differing alloys and features a special security device at its centre.
Representing the advances made in the industrial and technological fields,
the design spirals outward from the Iron Age core, to the Industrial era,
to the age of the computer and finally ends with the outer ring
symbolising the Internet. Design by Bruce Rushin, the reverse’s central
area contains a latent feature which, when tilted, transforms the image of
four separate scrolls into an image of eight intertwined scrolls. The edge
inscription STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS was taken from a letter
written by Isaac Newton, acknowledging how much he owed to the work of
When the £2 coin was struck in 1997, it established a number of important
milestones in British numismatic history. It was the first base metal £2
coin intended for general circulation, the first bi-colour coin of the
United Kingdom made of two different alloys, and the first British coin to
incorporate a latent feature as a security device.