Two Pound Coin Designs and Specifications | The Royal Mint

2005 Gunpowder Plot £2

Marking the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot

1983 £1

Issued 2005 
Diameter 28.4mm
Weight 12.0g
Thickness 2.5 mm

Outer:  Nickel-Brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
Inner:  Cupro-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)

Obverse Designers Ian Rank-Broadley
Reverse Designer Peter Forster
Edge Milled
Mintage  5,140,500* 

About This Design 

An arrangement of crossiers, maces and swords surrounded by stars and the dates 1605 & 2005. Denomination TWO POUNDS below.

The plot to assassinate King James I at the opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605, thankfully thwarted due to the anonymous letter sent to Lord Monteagle, is a piece of British history that shall ‘never be forgot’. 400 years later, in 2005, The Royal Mint remembered the Fifth of November with a splendidly-detailed two-pound coin. In the words of the artist Peter Forster its intricate reverse design shows symbols of State, represented by the mace, crosier and sword alluding to the survival under threat of the British establishment. The circular arrangement in which they are shown is also suggestive of a Catherine Wheel and the surrounding stars are a further reference to fireworks. The dates are rendered in an early seventeenth-century style of font.

History Of The £2

The first base metal £2 coin was issued in the United Kingdom in 1986 to commemorate the Thirteenth Commonwealth Games which that year were held in Scotland. Commemorative £2 coins continued to be issued in single colour nickel-brass for special occasions. After a review of the United Kingdom coinage in 1994, it emerged that there was a requirement for a general circulation £2 coin. A consultation process took place with the vending machine industry, members of the public and special interest groups such as the RNIB and Age Concern. The consensus of opinion from the consultation favoured a bi-colour coin because it would be easily distinguishable from the other coins in circulation. The bi-metallic £2 coin was eventually launched on 15 June 1998 and millions were released into circulation.

Gunpowder Plot coin original drawing