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Commemorative £2 coins

The history of commemorative £2 coins in the UK can be complex and confusing. Confusion occurs because, in addition to common circulating currency coins issued in 1998, there have also been numerous other commemorative £2 coins over the years. This includes various celebratory £2 coins, plus collectible bullion Double Sovereigns. All of these also have a legal tender face value of two pounds.

All gold Double Sovereigns have a legal tender face value of £2, but there are other gold bullion coins with a legal tender of £2. These include many proof and commemorative £2 coins, but strictly speaking, they are not Double Sovereigns. They are, however, often referred to as Double Sovereigns all the same.

£2 circulation coins

The current £2 bi-metallic coins were first minted by The Royal Mint in 1997. They were introduced as common currency on June 15th, 1998. It is the highest value circulating coin in the UK.

No £2 coins were released for common circulation during the introduction of the 12-sided bi-metallic one pound coin in 2017. Except for this, it has been issued every year since 1998. The 1998 release followed earlier, uni-metallic, celebratory versions which were minted from 1986 to 1996. Unlike the 1998 coins, these early commemorative £2 coins were intended for collectors and not issued as circulation currency.

Commemorative 2 pound coins

Commemorative 2 pound coins were initially released annually, but the success and demand of these releases has seen them become a much more regular occurrence. Some years will see multiple commemorative £2 coins released, whether as circulating currency or purely for collectors. These can be themed releases, with multiple coins centred around one individual or event, or unrelated issues that happen to fall on the same year.

The following is a list of the commemorative 2 pound coins issued by The Royal Mint. Some of these were circulating coins, but also had gold bullion versions released for collectors and investors.

Please note, this list is not exhaustive and other coins may have been issued.

Double Sovereigns

The first gold Double Sovereign to enter into circulation was issued to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. This followed the introduction of the ‘modern’ gold Sovereign in 1817, with a face value of £1. The design of the Double Sovereign follows the normal Sovereign - that is the monarch's portrait on the obverse, and George and the Dragon on the reverse.

An 1887 gold Double Sovereign, one of the first commemorative £2 coins.

The 1887 Double Sovereign was the first £2 coin to enter circulation.

As far back as even 1485, there had been previous attempts to issue a Double Sovereign. Some of these early coins were struck, but none entered into circulation.

Even though they are classified as legal tender, gold Double Sovereigns and gold £2 coins are minted as collectable or bullion coins. Being legal tender, Sovereigns and other gold coins enjoy tax benefits over gold bars with the same gold content.

All gold Sovereigns and gold £2 coins have a fineness of 916.7 or 22 carat. For comparison gold Britannia coins are 999.9 fineness or 24 carat, and have a legal tender face value of £100. The Double Sovereign has a pure gold content of 14.63 g. This is very slightly over double that of the Sovereign, which has 7.322 g. The total weight of the Sovereign is 7.98 and that of the Double Sovereign 15.98 g.

In addition to The Royal Mint Double Sovereigns, the Pobjoy Mint in Surrey, also mints an Isle of Man Double Sovereign. It has the same metal content as the Royal Mint Double Sovereign. The reverse, however, shows a Norse Warrior on horseback, rather than George and the dragon.