How rare is the 2001 Marconi £2 coin? How much is it worth today?

On May 23, 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, from Cornwall, England to Newfoundland, Canada.

This historic event marked the beginning of a new era in communications and Marconi's achievement was widely celebrated at the time. One hundred years later, the Royal Mint released a commemorative two pound coin honouring Marconi and his accomplishment.

History behind the coin

So who was Marconi? Well, Marconi was a major player in the development of radio technology, and after he was turned down for investment by the Italian Government, as they believed his ideas to be preposterous, he decided to move to Britain in search of funding.

As a 22 year old, he and his mother arrived in England in 1896 and he quickly found interested backers in London, including the British Post Office.

Marconi wireless broadcasting soon progressed, and within a couple of years he had set up a wireless station on the Isle of Wight which enabled Queen Victoria to send messages to her son Prince Edward aboard the royal yacht. His work began to get the recognition it deserved.

And, after a few failed attempts, it was from Poldhu in Cornwall that he would successfully send the letter “S” in Morse Code (consisting of three dots) to an antenna attached to a 500 foot high kite, on Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The company's products were also used by the military and shipping companies amongst others and his pioneering work changed the world forever. The Marconi company was nationalized in the UK in the early 20th century. The company's name was changed to the General Post Office (GPO) in the UK.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic radio broadcast, a new coin was minted in 2001. Marconi's achievement was a major milestone in the history of communication, and the coin serves as a reminder of his groundbreaking work.

Design of the coin

Over the years the Royal Mint have commemorated special events on two pound coins. The two pound coins from 1999 onwards are bi-metallic, consisting of two different alloys. The outer ring is a Nickel-Brass (gold colour) , and the inner circle is Cupro-Nickel (silver colour).

In 2001, The Marconi £2 coin was the 9th commemorative £2 coin to be released and only the 2nd to be released with the bi-metallic design. Examples of the earlier £2 coins which used just one alloy include the Claim of Rights £2 coin and the 1995 Dove of Peace £2 coin.

The reverse design of the Marconi two pound coin is a depiction of the radio transmission tower at Poldhu, Cornwall. It shows circles emitting out from the encircled date 2001. A spark connects the two zeros inside the date stamp and it is surrounded by radio waves.

Beams radiate from the 2001 date towards the right of the coin, reaching the outer edge. They represent radio waves propagating across the Atlantic. As they cross a spiral of four bands, each of the beams has two sets of three dots along them, representing the Morse Code letter “S”- the first signal to make it across the ocean.

At the bottom of the coin the words 'TWO POUNDS' are shown for the denomination. The designer, Robert Evans, has his initials RE above the letters P and O of the denomination.

The edge of the coin is incused in the milled edge with the inscription 'Wireless Bridges The Atlantic Marconi 1901'.

The obverse of the coin features the Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right. She is wearing the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” diamond tiara which was a wedding gift from Her Majesty’s grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1947.

The initials IRB are shown beneath her portrait, representing the artist and designer Ian Rank-Broadley. Around the outer circle is the inscription ELIZABETH II DEI GRA REG FID DEF which translates from Latin to mean Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

Denomination £2
Year 2001
Weight 12.00g
Diameter 28.40mm
Reverse Designer Robert Evans
Obverse Designer Ian Rank-Broadley
Metal Nickel Brass (Outer) and Cupro-Nickel (Inner)
Mintage 4,558,000

Mintage of the Coin

According to the Royal Mint's official mintage figures, this special coin had a total of 4,558,000 Marconi coins entering general circulation. These circulated coins are made of Cupro-nickel and Nickel-brass weighing 12.00 g with a diameter of 28.4mm with a milled inscribed edge.

As well as the 4.5 million that entered general circulation there were 57,741 brilliant uncirculated coins issued in sets and 49,372 silver proofs versions of the coin in 2001 UK Proof Sets.

Is the 2001 Marconi Wireless Transmission £2 Rare?

The Marconi £2 coin had a mintage of 4.5 million, which is fairly high for a £2 coin. Because of this, the coin is not really considered to be rare and you are quite likely to find it in your change today, despite it being in circulation for over 21 years.

It is of a similar mintage as the 2003 DNA £2 which had a mintage of 4,299,000 and 2016 Shakespeare Comedies £2 coin which had a mintage of 4,355,000.

How much is the Marconi Two Pound coin worth?

The average cost for 2001 Wireless Transmission £2 coins listed as sold on eBay UK is £3.50. This excludes postage and packaging and fees to be paid by a seller. A coin in better condition would obviously sell for more.

As we said, the Marconi £2 coins have been in circulation for 21 years, so the conditions of these coins will be heavily marked and may contain chips and dents to the edges of the coin.

Where can I buy the 2001 Marconi Wireless £2 Coin?

You can purchase the £2 Marconi coin here.

Or you can buy the 2001 Marconi £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 21 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?

No official errors have been issued by the Royal Mint but we have heard of some sellers saying they have an error coin saying the inscription, the wording, around the milled edge of the coin is upside down.

It is true that the wording can be one of two ways, but this is just the way that the coins are made. It all depends which way the planchet (the plain metal disc from which a coin is made) enters the machine. So in theory, there's a 50/50 chance of the writing being one way or the other. This is not an error and all £2 coins are made this way.

Collectors do like to collect coins with the writing a particular way or both ways!

Bit of trivia...

Guglielmo Marconi was a very successful Italian inventor and businessman. His main achievement was in the development of the wireless telegraph, which revolutionized communication. Marconi continued to work on improving his system and was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in 1909.

Marconi's achievements in wireless communication have had a lasting impact on the world. His work laid the foundation for modern communications, and his legacy continues to inspire people to innovate and create new technologies.

In 1912, he would go on to be credited for saving lives during the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania since requests for help were sent out via a radio call. 

Marconi died on July 20 1937 in Rome, aged 63.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published