2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 | The Royal Mint

2005 Gunpowder Plot £2

Marking the 400th Anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot


Issued 2005 
Diameter 28.4mm
Weight 12.0g
Thickness 2.5mm

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

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

About This Design 

The plot to assassinate James I at the opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605 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 £2 coin. The design features an arrangement of crosiers, maces and swords surrounded by stars, the dates 1605 and 2005, and features the denomination ‘Two Pounds’ below. In the words of the artist Peter Forster, its intricate reverse design shows symbols of State that allude to the survival of the British establishment under threat. The circular arrangement in which they are shown is 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 font.

History of the £2 Coin

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.

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