10 November 2021
The Royal Mint issued four new £2 coins to celebrate the Manchester Commonwealth Games of 2002, and as our guide reveals, collectors who pay close attention to each design may find a rare variety…
Four coins for the 2002 Commonwealth Games
The seventeenth (XVII) Commonwealth Games was hosted by Manchester from 25 July to 4 August 2002, and saw 72 nations take part, including the four home nations. At the time it was the largest multi-sport event to ever take place in the UK.
The Royal Mint didn’t just issue one coin to celebrate the event, they released four coins, each with a subtle difference in the design which today can make a big difference in the value.
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The coins were designed by Matthew Bonaccorsi and show an athlete ‘breaking the tape’, the inscription around the edge of the coins reads: ‘SPIRIT OF FRIENDSHIP, MANCHESTER 2002’.
They might not be as well known as the range of 50p coins issued for the London 2012 Olympics, but these four coins would make a great addition to a sport-themed collection and would nicely complement your Olympics 50ps.
Which Commonwealth Games £2 coins are rare?
Look very closely at these four coins and you can see a subtle difference in the flags seen on each design.
That’s the only difference between them, as they each represent a different home nation and so show the flag of either England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.
So is it worth finding your old magnifying glass and giving these coins a closer inspection? In a word, ‘yes!’
How much are they worth?
The Northern Ireland coin is officially the UK’s rarest £2 coin, with a value of around £35, that’s about £20 more than the value of the other three coins.
- ENGLAND mintage: 650,500 VALUE: £10 - 15
- NORTHERN IRELAND mintage: 485,500 VALUE: £30 - £35
- SCOTLAND mintage: 771,750 VALUE: £10 - 15
- WALES mintage: 588,500 VALUE: £10 - 15
So you need to look out for coins featuring the ‘Ulster Banner’ flag. This all seems straightforward enough, but when you take into account the fact that Northern Ireland’s flag is very similar to England’s St George’s Cross flag (with just the addition of the red hand in the centre), and that the flags on the coins are just a few millimetres in size, identifying the varieties becomes a little bit harder!
According to Change Checker’s Scarcity Index, the three most scarce £2 coins are from this set, with Northern Ireland first, England second, and the Scotland coin in third place. The Wales coin is still really rare, and ranks as the sixth rarest £2 coin on Change Checker’s list.
Now, where’s that magnifying glass?