1997 History of Technological Achievement £2



Issued 1997-2015 circulated 1998*
Diameter 28.4mm
Weight 12g
Composition Outer: nickel-brass 76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc
Composition Inner: Cupro-nickel 75% copper, 25% nickel
Obverse 1997 Raphael Maklouf. 1998- 2015 Ian Rank-Broadley
Reverse Bruce Rushin
Edge Milled
Inscription Standing on the shoulders of giants
Mintage 346,725,530 for individual years click here
B.U pack C
£5.45 L
1998 I
No sales data K

Design details:

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 signature.)

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 announcement.'

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 others.

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.