The end of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games marked the first major event for the London 2012 games, with the official handover of the Games to the next host city.
The Olympic Flag was handed over from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, followed by a short performance inviting the world to London for the 2012 Games.
London has hosted the Games just three times, in 2012, 1948 and 1908.
The 2008 Olympic Games Handover £2 coin commemorates the handing over of the Olympic Flag in anticipation of London hosting the 2012 Games and coincided with the 100th anniversary of London hosting the games back 1908.
This coin is regularly confused with the 1908 Olympic Games £2 which was issued in the same year as the names are very similar, which was issued to commemorate the centenary of the London 1908 Olympic Games held in London.
This coin is also known as the Beijing £2 coin or the Beijing Olympic Handover £2 coin.
These two £2 coins from 2008 consistently remain in the top ten of most sought after £2 coins. That said, how rare is the 2008 Olympic Games Handover coin and what's it worth?
Looking at the most recent online sales and average prices from eBay and Amazon, we can see that this coin sells for around £9.20 excluding packing and posting.
In this article we'll take a look at the history behind the coin, its design and compare it to other commemorative coins to see how rare it actually is.
History behind the coin
The announcement came on July 6, 2005, that London had been chosen to host the 2012 Olympic Games. This would be the first time since 1948 that London would be chosen for the event. London had hosted the games in 1908 as well.
The Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in August 2008 marked the official transfer of the Games to the next Host City.
The Mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong, handed over the Olympic Flag to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The ceremony was followed up with a short performance inviting the world to London for the 2012 Games - the Olympic flame was extinguished and the Olympic flag was ceremonially carried from the stadium.
The coin represents the official handover of the Games to the next host city.
The chairman of the London 2012 organizing committee, Sebastian Coe, encouraged the sale of the coins as mementos saying, that “this kind are a tradition of the Olympic and Paralympic movement and one that London 2012 and the Royal Mint will continue with the release of over the four years leading up to the 2012 Games.”
Design of the coin
The reverse design was created by the Royal Mint Engraving Team, who also created the Olympic Flag and the London 2012 logo. Along the outer ring, the phrases 'BEIJING 2008' and 'LONDON 2012' encircle the design.
The design celebrates both the successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and the official handover from Beijing to London.
It featured the five Olympic rings being passed from a hand on the left to a hand on the right encircled with words that read BEIJING 2008 to the left of the image and LONDON 2012 to the right.
The London 2012 Olympic logo is at the bottom of the coin overlapping both metals. The outer section of the coin was designed to symbolize a running track that encircles the design.
Around the milled edge of the coin, in incused lettering, are the words I CALL UPON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD
The Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, which was on the two pound coin from 1998 until 2015, is depicted on the coin's obverse. 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.
Just underneath her portrait, the artist Ian Rank-initials, Broadley's IRB, may be seen. Her illustrious 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, surrounds her head all around the outer circle.
After the coin went decimal, this particular portrait was on the two pound coin from 1998 until 2015.
Mintage of the Coin
The Royal Mint's official mintage of this £2 commemorative coin is under 1 million at just 918,000, which is comparable with the 1908 Olympic Games 2008 £2 coin which has a mintage of just slightly less, at 910,000.
Other versions of the coin were issued including over 250,000 brilliant uncirculated versions, 30,000 silver proof, 3,000 silver piedfort and 3,250 gold editions.
Scarcity of the coin
The two Olympic commemorative £2 coins were made available in 2008, along with the Technology coin which had a mintage of 30,107,000. No commemorative 50p coins were released but it was the year that the 50p moved from the Britannia 50p over to the shield design by Matthew Dent.
The Olympic Games Handover £2 has a very low mintage and it is very unlikely you have received one of these coins in your change, so it is considered to be a rare coin. The likelihood of receiving one in your change is about 1 in 1100 of the £2 coins received.
How much is the 2008 Olympic Games Handover Two Pound coin worth?
The coin in common circulating condition is worth around £9.20 without shipping, which is considerably more than face value and the values increasing.
Where can I buy the 2008 Olympic Games Handover £2 Coin?
You can buy this coin by clicking here.
You can buy the circulated version of the Olympic Handover £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 15 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...
In 2008 the Olympic Games were held in China for the first time. In the months prior to the Games’ start, a devastating earthquake in Sichuan province, international focus on China’s pollution problems, and protests over China’s human rights record and Tibet became part of the Olympic story.
Moreover, the Chinese government was criticized for its failure to ensure complete media freedom for visiting reporters in the lead-up to the Games.