The gunpowder plot in 1605 was a failed assassination attempt of King James I by a group of English Catholics. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605, but Guy Fawkes was discovered the night before guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder and was subsequently executed along with seven other plotters.
This 1605 to 2005 £2 coin has now been in circulation for 17 years so it is very likely you will have come across one of these in your change, so how much are they worth?
Well if you have one you are looking to sell on eBay or Amazon, you'll be able to sell it for around £3.70 plus postage but remember to take into account the fees you will pay on online marketplaces.
Let's look at the history behind the coin, the scarcity and where you can get your hands on this coin to add to your collection.
The Gunpowder Plot
On November 5th 1605, a group of Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. The plot was foiled and the would-be assassins were captured, but the story of the Gunpowder Plot has gone down in history as one of the most infamous attempts at terrorism in the UK.
It's been over 400 years since the infamous Gunpowder Plot, and the £2 coin commemorating the event is still in circulation today. minted in 2005, the coin is a reminder of the failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
The plot was hatched by a group of Catholic conspirators, led by Guy Fawkes, in an attempt to kill King James I and his Protestant parliament. Thankfully, the plot was foiled and Fawkes was arrested before he could carry out his plan. Today, the £2 coin is a reminder of the importance of religious tolerance and the need to respect different points of view.
The Royal Mint produced two unique commemorative two-pound coins in 2005. This one is to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot's 400th anniversary. the other one more to mark the 60th anniversary of the Second World War's end.
A group of conspirators, including Robert Catesby as the leader, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy, John Wright, Guy (or Guido) Fawkes, and Robert Keyes, plotted to assassinate King James I. The conspirators planned to blow up Parliament during the opening ceremony in order to assassinate the King, but suspicions were raised and the plot was thwarted when Guy Fawkes was found with the gunpowder in the cellars of the House of Lords.
The conspirators were then executed by hanging, draw, and quartering or killed before going to trial. 400 years have passed. It is still remembered to this day with the skies over the British Isles are a riot of brilliant, jewel-toned colors every year on November 5th, also known as Bonfire Night, and the air is dense with smoke from the thousands of bonfires, many of which are still topped with effigies of Guy Fawkes.
Design of the coin
To mark the 400th anniversary, the reverse design of this coin features a montage of bishop's crosiers, swords, and the Parliamentary mace symbolising the survival of the British establishment.
It is designed by Peter Forster and shows an array of swords, crosiers, and maces on the reverse of the £2 coin from 1605 to 2005 symbolising the tenacity and endurance of the established order.
In honour of the 400th anniversary, the bi-color design bears the inscriptions '1605' and '2005' towards the top and 'TWO POUNDS' at the bottom of the face.
In allusion to the well-known nursery rhyme, the writing 'REMEMBER REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER' may be seen around the edge.
Since the coin's introduction, this inscription has generated a lot of controversy because many individuals believe they have found a minting error in which the letter R appears as the letter P.
The Obverse shows the Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Ian Rank Broadley, FRBS, FSNAD, whose initials IRB appear under the head, as used on all British coins from 1998.
The legend (inscription) reads: ELIZABETH · II · D · G · REG · FID · DEF · TWO POUNDS.
Mintage of the Coin
With a mintage of 5,140,500, the £2 Coin from 1605 to 2005 went into circulation in 2005. Approximately 1 in 347 of the two pound coins in use now can be found among the coins that went into circulation.
Although a mintage of about 5 million for a £2 coin is not at all low, given that the coin has been in use for more than 17 years, it is possible that many of them have been saved or thrown away over that time.
For context, the mintage of some of the rarest £2 coins, such the 2008 £2 Olympic Games Handover or the 2002 £2 Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland coins, is well below one million.
This 2005 £2 coin from isn't very rare, but the average sold prices on eBay show that there is still a significant market for the piece. Additionally, a large number of postings on eBay are finished each week, demonstrating that there is still a strong demand for the coin.
Although 5,140,500 of the coins entered circulation, there were also a couple of other versions that were produced by the Royal Mint.
A total of 12,044 brilliant uncirculated versions of this coin were issued in a presentation card, 10,000 Silver Proofs were issued in a special presentation box and certificate of authenticity, 4,585 Silver Proof Piedforts which are double the weight of the Silver Proofs and finally 1,500 Gold Proof versions where the whole of the coin has a gold colour design.
How much is the Gunpowder Plot Two Pound coin worth?
The coin is actually worth the same as the common circulating version, or about £3.50 without shipping, because the Royal Mint has confirmed that there aren't any faulty versions of it.
Where can I buy the 2005 Gunpowder £2 Coin?
We stock this coin so you can buy it here form ourselves.
You can buy the Gunpowder Plot £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. As we said we expect this coin to be selling for around £3.50 plus postage so be wary of any listings trying to sell this circulated coin for more than £10.
Unfortunately, as this coin is now over 17 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 so-called "mistake" version might actually be useless to an obsessive collector because the coin would have to have undergone significant wear for the R letter to change into a P, which diminishes the collectability.
Bit of trivia...
Around 2,500kg of gunpowder were found under the Houses of Parliament went Guy Fawkes was arrested. Enough to cause widespread damage for up to 500m.
Yeomen of the Guard still search the Houses of Parliament before the State Opening to make sure all is well. This was traditionally held in November from 1928 to 2010 but now occurs in spring.