Outer: Nickel-brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
|Obverse Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|Reverse Designer||Rod Kelly|
|Edge Inscription||1806-1859 ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL ENGINEER|
The design features a portrait of Isambard Kingdom Brunel with two of his engineering achievements, encircled by a chain with the denomination ‘Two Pounds’ above and the date ‘2006’ below.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel is arguably Britain’s greatest engineer. During a career that spanned more than 30 years, he used his remarkable inventiveness and considerable talent in a multitude of engineering fields. His status as a truly great Briton is indisputable and in 2006 The Royal Mint was proud to honour the man and his achievements with two £2 coins. The first commemorative design, by Rod Kelly, features a portrait of Brunel with the spectacular Royal Albert Bridge in the background and is encircled by symbolic chain links. The second, by Robert Evans, celebrates Brunel’s great achievements, portraying a dramatic view of Paddington Station, the main terminus of the Great Western Railway of which Brunel was the Chief Engineer.
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.