Outer: Nickel-brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
|Obverse Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|Reverse Designer||Bob Elderton|
|Edge Inscription||In Victory Magnanimity in Peace Goodwill|
The design depicts St Paul's Cathedral illuminated by searchlights and the value 'Two Pounds' above and the dates ‘1945-2005’ below.
The Second World War brought devastation to British cities. While London burned St Paul’s Cathedral miraculously escaped destruction, with its Dome, according to The Times, seeming to ‘ride the sea of fire like a great ship’. Serene and comparatively unscathed amid a city in flames, the great cathedral survived to become a symbol of hope to a beleaguered nation. It was this image of St Paul’s cathedral during the blitz that had such an impact on Robert Elderton as he undertook his research for a suitable reverse design for the £2 coin celebrating the coming of peace in 1945: “Its survival during the firebombing of London seemed such an iconic image. The coin more or less designed itself when I came across the image of St Paul’s lit up with the search beams in the shape of a V for Victory. A lot of credit should go to Sir Christopher Wren and the searchlight operators!”
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.