Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an English mechanical and civil engineer whose designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering. He is perhaps best remembered for the network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts constructed for the Great Western Railway.
This £2 coin issued in 2006 commemorates the 200th anniversary of his birth and features a section of the famous arches in Paddington Station - one of his most famous works.
Brunel's life was celebrated with two special £2 coins issued by the Royal Mint in 2006. This coin, which was designed by Robert Evans, features a stunning array of arches at Paddington Station, but how much is it worth today?
Average prices on online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon give this coin a value of £3.50 excluding postage and packaging in good circulated condition. It's an unusual coin, but not as rare as you may think.
History behind the coin
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth on April 9, 1806. He was a living industrialist who passed away on September 15, 1859, from a stroke.
French engineer Mark, his father, fled France after the revolution. When Brunel got back to England, he started working as an engineer for his father.
Between Hanwell and Ealing is the eight-arched Wharncliffe Viaduct, a brick-built railroad overpass.
The Maidenhead Railway Bridge was the widest and flattest brick arch bridge in the world when it was constructed in 1838.
Bristol Temple Meads Station was the largest single-span construction ever constructed when it was opened.
Box Tunnel: When it was built, this 2,937-meter-long tunnel on the Great Western Railway line between Bath and Chippenham was the largest railway tunnel in the entire globe.
All of these were designed by this great man.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a British civil engineer who is regarded as 'one of the most inventive and prolific figures in engineering history', 'one of the 19th-century engineering giants,' and 'one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, changed the face of the English landscape with his ground-breaking designs and ingenious constructions,' is commemorated on this circulating commemorative £2 coin on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
In addition to numerous significant bridges and tunnels, Brunel also constructed dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a number of steamships, including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship. His creations revolutionized both modern engineering and public transportation.
Design of the coin
This reverse design commemorates the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth in 1806.
The reverse design by Robert Evans shows the name BRUNEL incused behind a dramatic image of Paddington Station's roof in London, which serves as the major terminal for the Great Western Railway, of which Brunel was the Chief Engineer.
In the upper left corner, it says 2006; underneath it, it says TWO POUNDS and its value.
Initials of the artist are r.e. (for Robert Evans) are located in the right field, underneath the letter L in BRUNEL.
The design which appears on the reverse (tails) of the £2 Brunel Achievements coin, is sometimes known as 'Brunel's arches' or 'Paddington Station' £2.
The coin has the inscription incused on the milled edge - SO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE.
There is also another coin, the £2 coin Brunel Portrait, released the same year, which features a depiction of Brunel's famous image by Rod Kelly. The coin has the inscription incused on the milled edge - 1806-1859 ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL ENGINEER.
Both of the £2 Brunel coins feature Her Majesty The Queen on their reverses, just like other £2 coins created by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The image of Queen Elizabeth II facing right may be found on the coin's obverse. After the coin went decimal, this particular portrait was on the two pound coin from 1998 until 2015.
The "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara is worn on her head. Her Majesty's grandmother, Queen Mary, gave the tiara as a wedding present in 1947.
Just beneath her, one can see the letters IRB. They stand for Ian Rank-initials, Broadley's who designed the obverse. The iconic lines ELIZABETH II DEI GRA REG FID DEF, which are translated from Latin to mean Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, are written all around the outer circle.
Mintage of the Coin
The Royal Mint's official mintage of this £2 commemorative coin is just under 7.5 million at 7,452,250. This is a comparatively high mintage and is similar to the 2007 Act of Union £2 coin which has a mintage of 7,545,000.
Other versions of the coin were issued including brilliant uncirculated versions in presentation folders, silver proof, silver piedfort and gold editions.
For context, the mintage of some of the rarest £2 coins, such the £2 Olympic Games Handover or the £2 Commonwealth Games Ireland coins, is well below one million.
Scarcity of the coin
The Brunel Achievements £2 has a high mintage and it is very likely you have received one of these coins in your change, so it is not considered to be a rare coin. Of the two Brunel £2 coins, the Brunel Portrait £2 has a higher mintage at just under 8 million.
The same year also had a standard technology £2 coin, with a mintage of 16,715,000.
How much is the Brunel Achievements Two Pound coin worth?
The coin in common circulating condition is worth around £2.80 without shipping, so still more than face value and a coin to keep hold of as it is sure to increase in value.
Where can I buy the 2006 Brunel Achievements £2 Coin?
You can buy the circulated version of the Brunel Achievements £2 coin online in our store by clicking here or alternatively on auction sites such as eBay or Amazon but please ensure you look at all the information and reputation of the seller.
Unfortunately, as this coin is now over 16 years old, the Royal Mint no longer stock this coin so it is only available to buy on the secondary market.
Are there any known errors of this coin?
There are no known errors of this coin so please be wary of sellers listing these coins at overstated prices, with 'errors'.
Note on the obverse (heads) side of the coin, there are small raised dots around the edge of the silver coloured section. We have been informed that on some of the 2006 £2 coins, these dots appear offset or away from the edge or totally missing. This is not an error and is very common on two pound coins prior to 2015.
There are some known fakes of this coin, first spotted in October 2016. The reverse of the fake coin is of good quality but the the obverse less so. The detail of the Queen is inaccurate and some of the dots around the rim are missing. This fake obverse is also seen on the 2007 Act of Union fake £2 coin.
Bit of trivia...
Paddington railway station was built as the terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western Railway in the 1830s.
The most famous fictional character to be associated with Paddington Station, Paddington Bear, is also commemorated on a series of 50p coins issued by the Royal Mint.