A Brief History of the Gold Two Pound Coin Part 2
In advance of decimalization in 1971, a department was created at the Royal Mint to produce, package and market coins for collectors, and in 1980, two pound double sovereign gold coins were once again issued, and this production has continued in most years since, often only in proof versions.
Gold two pounds are a worthwhile and interesting addition to any collection of British coins.
Modern Times - New Nickel Brass £2 Coins
The story of the gold two pound piece would not be complete without a mention of the "new" base metal £2 coins.
In 1986, a new two pound coin was introduced which we believe was intended for circulation, or at least to test public reaction. It was struck in nickel-brass, measured 28.4 mm, and weighed 15.98 grams, exactly the same weight as the previous £2 gold coin. It then continued to be produced until 1996. It met with only limited popularity as a circulating coin, being rather thick and heavy, at a time when most other coin denominations were being reduced in size.
From 1997, a new bi-metal two pound coin has been produced, which seems to have become quite widely accepted in circulation. Although it retains the same diameter, it is thinner and lighter, weighing only 12.0 grams, and this appears to have contributed to its popularity. It now looks set to become a common sight in our change after only just over 500 years!
The reasoning behind the issue of circulating two pound coins is similar to the logic which dictated that the pound note would be replaced by the pound coin. The ten shilling note disappeared shortly before decimalization is 1971.
Because notes wear out quickly compared with coins, it is more economical to produce coins providing that the public are happy to use them. Small denomination banknotes can last less than six months, whereas coins can easily last more than a hundred years.
Until 1999, all of the base metal two pound coins have featured a different design in each year of issue, sometimes two different designs in the same year. It has been announced that it will frequently be used for commemorative purposes.
History Meets Innovation
We have already described the original gold two pound coins.
When the Royal Mint introduced the new base metal two pounds intended for circulation, they also issued silver and gold proof versions for collectors.
The two factors have merged to create a new regular issue of gold two pound coins, although the origin and tradition of each type shows through in the different designs chosen for them.
Two Distinct Series
The original type of two pound coin, which we will call a double-sovereign, continues to be produced using the familiar reverse design of Pistrucci's St. George and the dragon.
The modern series of gold two pound coin is based on the new base metal circulation type two pound coins, often with a commemorative design.
They are unified in both being produced at the same weight, fineness and gold content as each other.
Whether you collect just the traditional type, just the new type, or both types, could be a hard decision to make.
Whichever you decide, we believe that gold two pounds are a worthwhile addition to any collection of British coins. the increase in their design and production in recent years must add to the interest factor for many collectors.
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