Coins of England and Great Britain

('Coins of the UK')

by Tony Clayton


4 - Decimal Two Pence


Decimal One Penny <<-- : -->> Decimal Five Pence

Values of Decimal Bronze coins
Pictures of Decimal Two Pence Coins


The two pence coin weighs 7.13 grams and has a diameter of 25.91 mm. Initially issued in bronze, the material used to make the 2p coins changed to copper plated steel in 1992. However, for operational reasons the metal used reverted to bronze for a few months during 1998.

The copper-plated steel twopence are lower in density than the bronze twopence, and so are slightly thicker as the weight remained the same - a fact that becomes very evident if you compare piles of 10 coins of each type (about 2.05mm thick for steel, 1.85 mm for bronze). Of course, a magnet is the easiest way of distinguishing the two types of 1992, 1998 and 1999.

Proof versions were issued in sets every year from 1971.

There are seven types of this coin.

  1. Obv: First Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting top right
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, NEW PENCE above
    Bronze, issued from 1971 to 1981 (1972 to 1974 in Proof only)
    A very few coins of 1983 are known with this reverse, all of which were in Mint sets.
     
  2. Obv: First Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting top right
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, TWO PENCE above
    Bronze, issued from 1982 to 1984 (All only obtainable only from Mint and Proof sets)
     
  3. Obv: Second Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, TWO PENCE above
    Bronze, issued from 1985 to 1992. The 1992 bronze coins are found only in the Mint Sets and Proof Sets of that year.
     
  4. Obv: Second Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, TWO PENCE above
    Copper plated steel, issued from 1992 to 1997. The 1996 version exists as a silver proof.
     
  5. Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust.
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, TWO PENCE above
    Copper plated steel, issued from 1998 to 2008. All dates up to 2008 are in circulation.
    Proofs: silver in 2000, 2006 and 2008; gold in 2002 and 2008; platinum in 2008.
     
  6. Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust.
    Rev: Plumes in Coronet, 2 below, TWO PENCE above
    Bronze, issued for circulation in 1998. The 1999 proof is also bronze (and possibly that in the Uncirculated Coin Set).
     
  7. Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust. No beading.
    Rev: Top right corner of the Royal Arms, TWO PENCE above
    Copper plated steel, first issued in 2008 (2008 to 2012 in circulation; I have yet to see 2013 in change).
    Proofs: silver in 2008, 2009 and 2010; gold in 2008; platinum in 2008; silver piedfort in 2008.

The full designation of the 1971-2008 reverse is 'The Badge of the Prince of Wales, with its motto ICH DIEN (I serve)'.

All known specimens of the error reverse of 1983 are believed to have been found in Royal Mint issue Uncirculated Sets of that year.


1993 Reverse Modification


During 1993 the reverse underwent minor modifications. The most obvious is the shape of the P in PENCE. It seems that both 1993 reverses are equally common. I am grateful to Brandon Hamer for bringing this to my attention.


1998 Bronze Coins


Both bronze and copper-plated steel versions of the 1998 2p were released for general circulation. The specimens found in Royal Mint proof and uncirculated sets are copper-plated steel. Approximately 55% of 1998 2p's are bronze, and 45% are copper plated steel, according to the Royal Mint. The 2p coins in the 1999 Proof Set were also issued in bronze instead of the usual copper plated steel.

I am most grateful to the Royal Mint for giving me this information regarding the issue of bronze coins in 1998 and 1999.


Acknowledgements

See my Main Coins Index page for acknowledgements


Links

Decimal One Penny <<-- : -->> Decimal Five Pence

Main History Index
Values Index
Values of bronze (and copper-plated steel) decimal coins
Pictures Index
Pictures of Decimal Two Penny Coins

Help and Advice


Decimal Coins of the UK - 4 - The Decimal Twopence
Copyright reserved by the author, Tony Clayton
v23 19th November 2013
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