Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns
Outer: Nickel-Brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
Inner: Cupro-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
||The Royal Mint Engraving Team
||SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT
About This Design
This 2009 commemorative £2 coin marked the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth in 1759. Its design features handwritten lines from ‘Auld Lang Syne’, one of Robert Burns' most famous poems. The verse, which is sung at New Year celebrations across the English-speaking world, is written in Burns’ native Scottish dialect. The inscription on the coin reads: ‘We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne’. Around the edge of the coin are the words SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT.
This was the first time a design solely based on handwriting had appeared on a British coin – and it was an apt choice, for Burns’story is all about words. He himself said that he learned to write poetry when he fell in love. He continued writing throughout his life, leaving a large body of work behind him. Burns died in 1796 at the age of just 37. Today his work remains much loved, over two and a half centuries after his birth on 25 January 1759, so much so that Scots, at home and abroad, celebrate Burns’ birthday every year. At a Burns Supper admirers of his work toast him with Scottish whisky and serve haggis, reading aloud his ‘Address to a Haggis’.
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.
Robert Burns coin original drawing