The Royal Mint has issued two pound coins since 1986, many of them commemorating events in history. In 2007, two commemorative £2 coins were released into general circulation; the Abolition of Slavery £2 coin and the Act of Union £2 coin. In this article we'll look at the Abolition of Slavery £2 coin, starting with the history and design, then take a look at how rare it is and what it's worth.
The Abolition of the Slave Trade
The abolitionist movement, which began in the 1770's, was a movement that was developed to bring the slave trade to an end in Britain. Politicians, women, ordinary workers and workers who had formerly been slaves themselves, all rallied together to end slavery.
An alliance of Evangelical Anglicans and Quakers led by William Wilberforce was instrumental in campaigning to end slavery and he gained the support of the then Prime Minister, Lord Grenville, to put a bill before parliament.
After twenty years of fighting, the bill received Royal Assent on 25 March 1807 and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed by the British Parliament. This Act was passed to put an end to the buying and selling of enslaved people within the British Empire.
However, it would take another 26 years of persistent campaigning before slavery was completely abolished in most British colonies in 1833, with enslavers trading illegally during this time.
It is recognised that contemporary forms of slavery still exist today, and the antislavery movement of today is still fighting, but the actions of those people 200 years ago and their beliefs that they could enforce change, ensured the slave trade was recognised as an inhuman system that should never be tolerated.
The 2007 Slave Trade £2 coin was issued by the Royal Mint to commemorate the 200th anniversary (bicentenary) of the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.
Design of the coin
The reverse of the coin, designed by David Gentleman, shows a simple but effective design featuring the date 1807 representing the year that the bill was passed, with the 0 shown as a broken chain link to signify the broken chains of oppression and the end of slave trading.
The image is surrounded by the inscription AN ACT FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE. The date of 2007. the 200th anniversary of the Act iss featured at the bottom of the coin.
Around the milled edge are the incused words 'AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER'. The inscription was taken from British potter Josiah Wedgwood’s famous medallion that featured the saying inscribed on a banner ribbon at the feet of a slave in chains. The work of Wedgwood would feature on a 2019 £2 coin.
The medallion had been created as part of an anti-slavery campaign by Wedgwood in 1787.
The circulated version of the coin had a mottled or textured background.
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.
Proof gold and silver versions of the coin had a smooth background and the designers initials, DG for David Gentleman, to the bottom right of the 1807 date. Please be careful if selling this coin, to use the correct image, as a buyer may see the DG initials and think they are buying a proof coin rather than the circulated version.
Likewise, if you find one of these coins in your change, make sure you check it as it may be the uncirculated version with a smoother finish with the designer’s initials ‘DG’ on the right, near the number 7. If it is, this is a much rarer coin and worth a lot more as it is of a higher quality.
Mintage of the Coin
The official mintage of coins entering circulation was 8,445,000. As with most commemorative coin designs, the Royal Mint also produced the Slave Trade £2 in other uncirculated versions for collectors: 8,688 Brilliant Uncirculated Packs were minted, 7,095 Silver Proof versions of the coin were issued as well as 3,990 Silver Piedfort versions. Finally a total of 1,000 Gold proof versions were minted by the Royal Mint.
The Royal Mint also included the coins in the following annual sets including:
- 2007 United Kingdom Brilliant Uncirculated Coin Collection set of 9 coins including the Act of Union, Slave Trade, and Millennium Bridge coin as well as a 50p Scouting, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and a 1p coin.
- The United Kingdom 2007 Proof Coin Collection consisting of 12 coins that came in a Deluxe and an Executive Proof edition as well.
The United Kingdom Family Silver Collection 2007 with 6 coins in the set including a Five-Pound Diamond Wedding coin, a Britannia, Act of Union, Slave Trade, Millennium Bridge, and a 50p Scouting coin
Is the Abolition of Slavery £2 Rare?
The Slave Trade £2 coin had a mintage of 8,445,000, which is quite a high amount for a £2 coin. Because of this, the coin is not considered to be rare and you are likely to find it in your change today, despite it being in circulation for over 15 years.
How much is the Slavery Two Pound coin worth?
According to the most recent sold values on eBay in 2022, the 2007 Slave Trade £2 coin sells for around £4.00 in circulated condition excluding postage and packaging and fees to be paid by a seller. A coin in better condition would sell for more.
The 2007 Abolition of the Slave Trade £2 coins have been in circulation for 15 years, so will be in used condition so expect some damage to the coin. Of course, brilliant uncirculated (or BU / BUNC versions as they are known) of this coin will sell for significantly more.
Where can I buy the 2007 Abolition of Slavery £2 Coin?
Buy this coin now from Copes Coins.
Alternatively, you can buy the Slave Trade £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 £4 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 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?
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...
The Atlantic slave trade started a lot earlier than you might think. The Portuguese began trafficking African captives in the 1440s.
It also lasted longer than you imagine. Although the British and Americans abolished their slave trade in 1807, the trade continued to flourish, however, down to the 1850s. The last known slave ship, which carried captives to Cuba, sailed in 1866.