On 8th May 1945, Winston Churchill announced VE Day - Victory in Europe, which marked the end of World War Two and followed Germany's surrender about a week after Adolf Hitler had committed suicide.
This 2005 £2 coin, also known as the floodlights £2 coin, commemorates this event. Striking and powerful in appearance, it's quite possible you could receive it in your change despite it going into circulation over 17 years ago. So, how much is it worth and how rare is it?
Well, according to average sold prices on eBay and Amazon, the 2005 End of World War II £2 coin in circulated condition is worth around £3.20 plus the cost of postage. In this article we'll take a closer look at the history behind the coin, the design, the mintage and why it's worth more than face value.
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, many of us are reflecting on the events of that time. The £2 coin commemorates the role that Britain played in the conflict, and is a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought.
What better way to commemorate one of the most important events in human history than with a special edition £2 coin? The 2005 World War II coin is a must-have for any coin collector or history buff.
History behind the coin
The largest circulating coin denomination in the Pound Sterling is the bi-metallic £2 coin. It was released in 1998. (earlier two pound coins were made of Nickel brass, were intended as commemorative, and did not circulate much). Being bi-metallic indicates that the coin consists of two distinct parts made of different alloys: an outer ring made of nickel-brass and an inner circle made of cupro-nickel.
The Royal Mint continues to produce an annual "definitive" form of the £2 coin along with a wide range of commemorative coins that circulate for a year and some collector-oriented Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) £2 coins.
The Technology type £2 served as the standard type between 1997 and 2015 before being replaced by the Britannia type £2.
The commemorative coins honour notable events, individuals, and enduring facets of British history and culture and what is more notable than the end of such an important conflict.
This £2 commemorative coin is in circulation to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. St. Paul's Cathedral in London is shown in its design lit by searchlights seeking for enemy bombers.
The Second World War left British cities in ruins. St. Paul's Cathedral miraculously avoided destruction while London burnt, with its dome appearing to 'surf the sea of flames like a vast ship,' according to The Times.
In the midst of a burning city, the great cathedral managed to survive and emerge as a beacon of hope for a people in peril.
Robert Elderton's quest for an appropriate reverse design for the £2 coin commemorating the end of World War II was greatly influenced by this photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral during the Blitz: 'Its survival amid the firebombing of London seemed such an iconic sight.
When I saw a picture of St. Paul's Cathedral illuminated by searchlights that were arranged in the shape of a V for Victory, the coin pretty much designed itself. Sir Christopher Wren and the searchlight operators deserve a lot of praise!'
The 2005-issued £2 coins have been in use for 17 years.
Design of the coin
The reverse design of this £2 features a depiction of St Paul's Cathedral which survived the Blitz to become a great symbol of hope to a war-torn nation. The edge inscription reads - IN VICTORY: MAGNANIMITY, IN PEACE: GOODWILL - part of the famous maxim that prefaces Churchill's history of the Second World War.
The coin is a member of a series of two-pound coins created to honour a noteworthy occasion in British history. It is referred to as a bi-metallic coin and is made of two metal alloys. The inner circle is made of Cupro-Nickel, and the outer ring is made of Nickel-Brass.
The reverse of the special commemorative World War II two pound round coin is a design by Robert Elderton, and it was intended to celebrate 60 years marking the end of World War II. However, it doesn't seem like he incorporated his own initials into the pattern. If they are there, they are not immediately apparent.
While he was still attending Central School of Art and afterwards London's Sir John Cass School of Arts and Crafts until the summer of 1971, Robert Elderton began working as an apprentice engraver for the Royal Mint in 1964.
While working at the Royal Mint until 2002, he created various coins and medals.
With the value of TWO POUNDS and the years 1945–2005, he portrayed the front of St. Paul's Cathedral in full floodlights and searchlights for this coin.
The floodlights provide as a contrast to the numerous days of darkness and also serve as a representation of the searchlights that were employed to protect London from German airstrikes. To symbolize victory, the searchlights are shaped like the letter "V."
Inscription on the machined edge: IN VICTORY MAGNANIMITY IN PEACE GOODWILL.
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 10,191,000 pieces although other versions of the coin were issued including silver proof, silver piedfort and gold editions.
A mintage of just over 10 million makes this the most common £2 commemorative coin to be issued into circulation and is over a half a million more than the second most, the 2016 First World War Army £2 coin that had a mintage of 9,550,000.
Scarcity of the coin
Two commemorative coins were made available in 2005. Along with this coin, the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot £2 coin was released with a mintage of just over 5 million, almost half as rare.
As we said, the 2005 World War II coin with just over 10 million entering circulation is the most common commemorative £2 coin that you can find in your change today. So this coin is far from rare and yet has a wonderful design and still a nice coin to add to your collection.
Surprisingly, this coin was excluded from the year's mint sets.
The same year saw the introduction of the Dictionary 50p coin and also a standard technology £2 coin.
How much is the World War II 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 2005 End of World War II £2 Coin?
You can buy the circulated version of the WWII £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 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?
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 2005 WWII £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.
Bit of trivia...
Dating all the way back to 604 AD, the land that St Paul's Cathedral stands upon has been consecrated ground for a very long time, with three different predecessors.
The Great Fire of London in 1666, which has also been commemorated on a £2 coin, saw the Cathedral's previous iteration destroyed. Sir Christopher Wren, an architect instrumental in rebuilding the city, designed the version that exists today.
Interred in 1723, the prolific British architect was laid to rest in his own masterpiece. He was the first of numerous key figures to have the honour.