Charles Darwin was a British scientist who established the idea of evolution and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.
His book On the Origin of Species was immensely controversial because it suggested that humans may have evolved from apes, contradicting the generally believed Orthodox Church belief of creation at the time.
To honour the 200th anniversary of the naturalist Charles Darwin's birth, the Royal Mint depicted Darwin on one of its £2 collectible coins in 2009, so how much is it worth today and how rare is it?
According to the latest online sales from eBay and Amazon, the Darwin £2 sells on average for £3.60 excluding postage and packing. So what makes it a collectable coin and what does it represent?
History behind the coin
In 1809, Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England. He was educated to be a church preacher but discovered a strong interest in natural history. Darwin rose to prominence after studying the subject on the second trip of the HMS Beagle.
This coin also commemorates the 150th anniversary of Darwin's later publication, titled 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,' in which Darwin tried to argue that natural selection - also known as survival of the fittest - was the process by which genetics altered over time, and that evolution occurred through this process, rather than through God's control.
Given the intensity of religious conviction in Britain at the time, this stance was contentious at the time, but it is largely accepted now.
Design of the coin
The reverse design of the Charles Darwin £2 coin was designed by Suzie Zamit and features a profile image of Darwin facing a chimpanzee, in reference to Darwin’s contribution to the science of evolution. This is why this coin is sometimes called the 'chimpanzee £2 coin'.
Around the outer ring, at the top of the design, is Darwin’s name in capital letters, with his birth year on the left hand side of his name - 1809 - and to the right, the 200th anniversary of his birth – the year 2009.
The milled edge inscription reads 'ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES' which is in reference to Darwin’s book that was published in 1859 detailing the theory of evolution.
Other notable coins that celebrate scientific achievements include the 2003 Anniversary of the Discovery of DNA £2, the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p, 2019 Stephen Hawking 50p, and the 2021 Insulin 50p, John Logie Baird 50p and Charles Babbage 50p coins which were part of the Innovation of Science series.
The Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, in this iteration facing right, is depicted on the coin's obverse. From 1998 to 2015, this design was featured on the two pound coin.
Her Majesty's grandmother, Queen Mary, gave her the diamond tiara known as the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" as a wedding present in 1947.
Her image is immediately followed by the letters IRB, which stand for the initials of artist Ian Rank-Broadley.
The famous ELIZABETH II DEI GRA REG FID DEF, which translates from Latin to read Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, is inscribed around her head and all the way around the outer circle.
Mintage of the Coin
The Charles Darwin £2 coin has a mintage of 3,903,000 and has been in circulation for more than 13 years. This is not considered a low mintage given the rarest £2 coin, the Northern Ireland £2 coin, has a mintage of just 485,000.
So the Charles Darwin £2 is not considered to be a rare coin, but it is still a good find if you receive it in your change.
Other collector versions of this coin were made namely, a brilliant uncirculated version which had 169,713 made, 9,357 Silver proof versions, 3,282 Silver proof piedforts as well as 1,000 Gold proof versions.
Another commemorative £2 was issued in 2009 – the Robert Burns £2 which had a mintage of 3,253,000 and celebrates the life of Robert Burns, a famous poet from Scotland.
Both coins featured in the 2009 annual set along with the famous Kew Gardens 50p coin.
Scarcity of the coin
The Charles Darwin £2 does not really have a low mintage and you may have received one of these coins in your change, but it is considered to be becoming more scarce.
How much is the 2009 Charles Darwin Two Pound coin worth?
The coin in common circulating condition is worth around £3.80 without shipping, which is considerably more than face value and the values increasing.
Where can I buy the 2009 Charles Darwin £2 Coin?
Buy the Charles Darwin £2 Circulated Coin from Copes Coins
You can buy the circulated version of the Charles Darwin £2 coin online 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 13 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?
The Royal Mint has not confirmed any official errors for this coin so please beware of any sellers trying to inflate the selling price by claiming they have an error coin.
The writing on the side of the coin can be either one way or the other and there is an equal chance of it being either upside down or the other way, it is not an error.
Bit of trivia...
Charles Darwin not only studied an eclectic menagerie of animals from around the globe, he ate them as well. As a student at Cambridge, he formed the Gourmet Club, also known as the Glutton Club, for the purpose of dining on “birds and beasts, which were before unknown to human palate.