Outer: Nickel-brass (76% copper, 4% nickel, 20% zinc)
|Obverse Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|Reverse Designer||The Royal Mint Engraving Team|
|Edge Inscription||THE 4TH OLYMPIAD LONDON|
The first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896, the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin. His dream was to bring together people of the world in a spirit of friendly competition where leading athletes could strive for victory and personal excellence. Since then, the Olympic Games have become the greatest festival of sport in the world. The first time they were held in London was in 1908 at the purpose-built stadium in White City and to celebrate the centenary of those Games, The Royal Mint struck a commemorative £2 coin. Designed by Royal Mint coin designer Thomas T. Docherty, the £2 coin featured a running track, an image that is strongly associated with the Olympic Games. The anniversary date of 1908 is positioned within the track, with the words ‘London Olympic Centenary’ encircling the design. The incuse edge inscription, ‘THE 4TH OLYMPIAD LONDON’, completes the design.
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.