Outer: Nickel-brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
Inner: Cupro-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
|Obverse Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|Reverse Designer||Robert Evans|
|Edge Inscription||WIRELESS BRIDGES THE ATLANTIC...MARCONI 1901...|
2001 saw the centenary of Guglielmo Marconi’s first wireless transmission across the Atlantic. It was a feat that had been thought impossible but, in December 1901, the letter ‘S’ in Morse Code – three dots – was successfully transmitted from Poldhu in Cornwall to St John’s, Newfoundland. To commemorate Marconi’s historic achievement – an achievement that was to revolutionise global communication and bring tremendous benefits to mankind – The Royal Mint produced a special £2 coin. Taking radio waves as its theme, the design by Robert Evans symbolises Marconi’s impact on twentieth-century communication. Radio waves decorate both the centre and outer border while a spark of electricity links the zeros of the date and represents the generation of the signal. The design is completed with the edge inscription ‘…WIRELESS BRIDGES THE ATLANTIC… MARCONI 1901’.
The first base metal £2 coin was issued in the United Kingdom in 1986 to commemorate the Thirteenth Commonwealth Games which was 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’s coinage in 1994, it emerged that there was a requirement for a circulating £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 bicolour coin because it would be easily distinguishable from the other coins in circulation. The bimetallic £2 coin was launched on 15 June 1998 and millions were released into circulation.