The Rarest UK £2 Coins

CollectHistoric Coins



After a remarkable 25 years in circulation, the marvellous UK £2 coin has become a hidden treasure within our everyday change. With its enduring popularity, this staple of UK currency has captured the attention of enthusiasts around the UK, transforming it into a highly sought-after collectable. In this article, we will explore the history behind the coin and discover the nine rarest £2 coins to be produced by The Royal Mint.

A Brief History of the £2 Coin

First conceived in 1994 as a requirement for general circulation, the £2 coin released by The Royal Mint in 1998 revolutionised the United Kingdom’s currency. With the largest diameter of any UK circulating coin and a bimetallic composition, the £2 coin was an accessible coin. The benefit of such a wide breadth not only distinguished the new coin from others, by making it identifiable by the blind and visually impaired, but also created the perfect canvas for design and ingenuity.

Since its release in 1998, the bimetallic £2 coin has captured the imagination of the public and collectors alike. Boasting more than 50 commemorative designs honouring notable achievements and events in British history, the £2 coin has evolved into a coveted collectable.

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Emerging as the first in a collection of designs celebrating some of the scientific and cultural milestones of the nation, the Technology design, produced as the result of an open competition in 1996, marked the coin’s debut. The design set a significant precedent for the series by displaying an abstract representation of the UK’s technological progress from the Iron Age to the dawn of the Internet.

Commemorative £2 Coin Designs

More recently, the collection has continued to grow, celebrating the contributions of esteemed figures such as William Shakespeare in 2016 and Charles Darwin in 2009, whilst commemorating events including Olympic and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Unsurprisingly, the £2 coin has garnered widespread popularity due to its array of designs and the different editions of the coin often find themselves minted in limited quantities, making them even more highly sought after amongst collectors.

Let’s take a look at the rarest £2 coins produced by The Royal Mint:


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9. Olympic Games Handover 2008

Mintage: 918,000

In 2008, we released the Olympic Games Handover £2 coin celebrating London’s selection as the host city for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Designed by Thomas T. Docherty, the reverse features the passing of the Olympic flag from hand to hand, ‘Beijing 2008’ on the left and ‘London 2012’ on the right. Boldly bearing the inscription ‘I CALL UPON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD’ along its edge, the coin celebrates the potential of the world’s youth and the unity of the games.

With just 918,000 of these spectacular coins struck and released by The Royal Mint, the 2008 Olympic Games Handover £2 coin is a rare find.


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8. Olympic Games 2008

Mintage: 910,000

In anticipation of the upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games, we produced a coin commemorating the centenary of the 1908 London Olympic Games. Designed by Thomas T. Docherty, a product designer at The Royal Mint, the reverse of the coin features a dynamic illustration of a running track with the years 1908 and 2008 displayed within the outlines. The edge inscription reads ‘THE 4TH OLYMPIAD LONDON.’

With just 910,000 in existence, this coin is immensely appealing to collectors.


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7. Olympic Games Handover 2012

Mintage: 845,000

Struck to commemorate the transition of the Olympic Games from London to Rio de Janeiro, the 2012 Olympic Games Handover £2 coin symbolises the passing of the Olympic flag from one host city to another. The reverse design, created by Jonathan Olliffe, depicts a baton being passed between two hands, with the flags of the UK and Brazil joined in motion. Like its predecessor, the coin carries the edge inscription ‘I CALL UPON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD’. As 845,000 of these coins exist, it is highly prized by collectors for its significance and relative scarcity.


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6. Commonwealth Games, Scotland 2002

Mintage: 771,750

The 2002 Commonwealth Games held in Manchester, England, marked a significant milestone in British sporting history as the largest multi-sport event ever hosted in the UK before the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The £2 commemorative coin series for the 2002 Commonwealth Games includes designs representing the four countries of the UK. The Scotland edition features an edge inscription that reads ‘SPIRIT OF FRIENDSHIP, MANCHESTER 2002’, whilst the reverse, created by artist and sculptor Matthew Bonaccorsi, shows a dynamic figure holding a banner aloft, symbolising celebration, victory and sportsmanship.

With a limited mintage of 771,750 coins, and accompanied by three other designs, this £2 coin is a favourite amongst collectors and sporting enthusiasts alike.


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5. Commonwealth Games, England 2002

Mintage: 650,000

The 2002 Commonwealth Games England edition is the third rarest coin in the 2002 Commonwealth Games collection of designs.

Displaying a figure in motion holding a banner, designed by Matthew Bonaccorsi, the reverse of the coin features the Saint George’s Cross, encircled to the left.


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4. Britannia Fifth Portrait 2015

Mintage: 650,000

Timeless, symbolic, stirring and inspirational, Antony Dufort’s modern interpretation of Britannia is a piece of rich numismatic history.

Commonplace on British coinage for more than 300 years, Britannia is an iconic symbol of the nation. After a brief hiatus, Britannia made a triumphant return to British circulation in 2015 on a £2 coin.

The 2015 Britannia £2 coin holds a special distinction as one of the rarest £2 coins struck for circulation. Despite the new design replacing Bruce Rushin’s Technology design, which had featured on the coin since 1997, the initial 2015 release is scarce and a favourite with historical collectors.


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3. First World War Royal Navy Fifth Portrait 2015

Mintage: 650,000

As part of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, this £2 coin honours the Royal Navy, and holds both historical significance and collectable appeal. Designed by renowned military artist David Rowlands, the reverse displays a striking depiction of HMS Royal Oak, a revenge-class battleship commissioned during the war. Celebrating the strength and dedication of the Royal Navy, the edge inscription reads ‘THE SURE SHIELD OF BRITAIN’, which further emphasises the resilience of the nation.

With only 650,000 minted, the First World War Royal Navy Fifth Portrait £2 coin, featuring the fifth and final definitive coinage portrait of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, created by Jody Clark, quickly became a highly coveted collectable.


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2. Commonwealth Games, Wales 2002

Mintage: 588,500

The 2002 Commonwealth Games Wales £2 coin celebrates the sporting achievements of Wales. Featuring a figure in motion holding a banner with the Welsh flag encircled, this coin holds the distinction of being the second rarest in the Commonwealth set and the second rarest £2 coin in this list.


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1. Commonwealth Games, Northern Ireland 2002

Mintage: 485,500

Cherished for its rarity and connection to the momentous sporting event, the 2002 Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 coin is a gem with collectors. Featuring the Ulster Banner alongside a victorious figure, the coin holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and sporting enthusiasts. With a remarkably low mintage of 485,500, it is the rarest coin on our list.


Historical Commemorative £2 Coins

Prior to the introduction of the iconic bimetallic £2 coin, a series of special commemorative editions paved the way for celebrating significant moments in history, carefully made to honour and preserve the remarkable achievements and milestones that have shaped the nation. Now popular pieces with collectors, these commemorative editions, although not currently circulated, are also rare treasures.

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1. XIII Commonwealth Games Scotland, 1986

Features the Cross of St Andrew, a crown of laurel leaves and Scottish thistle.

Designed by Norman Sillman.

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2. The Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights, 1989

Features the ‘W&M’ (King William and Queen Mary) cypher interlaced, surmounting a Parliamentary Mace and representation of the Royal Crown above and the years 1689 and 1989 below, all within the inscription ‘TERCENTENARY OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS’.

Designed by John Lobban.

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3. The Tercentenary of the Establishment of the Bank of England, 1994

Features the Bank of England’s Corporate Seal, including the crown and cypher of King William and Queen Mary, along with the years 1694 and 1994.

Designed by Leslie Durbin.

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4. 1945 In Peace Goodwill, 1995

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the coin features a stylised representation of a dove as the symbol of peace.

Designed by John Mills.

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5. The 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations, 1995

Featuring the 50th anniversary symbol of the United Nations and a fanning pattern of flags, the coin bears the inscription ‘NATIONS UNITED FOR PEACE’ above and ‘1945-1995’ below.

Designed by Michael Rizzello.

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6. Tenth European Championship, 1996

Commemorating the 10th European Football Championship, it features a stylised representation of a football, with the year 1996 centrally placed and encircled by 16 small rings.

Designed by John Mills.

Spectacular £2 Coins to Collect

These exceptional £2 coins, with their limited mintages and captivating designs, have become highly sought after by collectors. However, with new designs released every year, there is always a chance you could find something to treasure.

If you’re looking to start your own collection, our curated coin collections provide an excellent entry point. Explore our diverse range of designs and themes, from historic events to pioneers, and begin your journey into the captivating realm of numismatics.

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