|Composition||Outer: Nickel-brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
Inner: Cupro-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
|Obverse Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|Reverse Designer||Robert Lowe|
|Edge Inscription||An incuse railway line motif|
In 1804 the first steam locomotive, designed by Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick, made its historic journey in South Wales. His invention led to the development of rail travel and played an important part in the industrial revolution. To mark the 200th anniversary of this great achievement, The Royal Mint issued a new £2 coin in 2004. The reverse design is the work of Royal Mint engraver Robert Lowe and is based on Trevithick’s 1804 Penydarren locomotive. The design features a representation of a steam locomotive engine with the words 'Two Pounds' above the image and inside a cog wheel, the words ‘R. Trevithick 1804 Invention Industry Progress 2004’ as a circumscription.
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.