The Royal Mint have launched (30th November) a new £2 which celebrates the Capital’s underground transport system, affectionately known to Londoners as “the tube”. Inaugurated on the 10th January 1863 and with just the Metropolitan line consisting of the underground portion, it was soon joined by the Hammersmith & city line in 1864 with a portion of that line being referred to as the District line. The well-known “circle” line was also added to the growing service. The Underground was also the first service to utilize electric trains in 1890 which formed part of the Northern line. During the second World War, the platforms of the many centrally located stations served as bomb shelters to literally tens of thousands of Londoners – later emerging to survey the damage done the night earlier.
In 1933, a new style of diagrammatic map of the Underground was introduced to the public. Designed by Harry Beck, it was first issued in pocket-sized form and was an immediate success with the public. This design is now commonly regarded as a design classic with an updated version of this design still in use today. The Underground introduced a “smart card” form of payment in 2003 and the entire system is now ticket-less. The London Underground now serves more than 3.5 million travelers daily and consists of 270 stations. During the recently staged Olympics, the Tube was instrumental in transporting participants, volunteers and spectators and did so with accolades from both the international organizers and the office of the Mayor of London.
The coin, created by British designer Edwina Ellis, whose graphic work includes the design of the Bridge series of four UK £1 coins, bears the London Underground “roundel” logo which first appeared on Underground station platforms in 1908. In 1916 Edward Johnson added the official Underground typeface to the bar. The coin features an edge inscription heralding the famous advice: MIND THE GAP. The obverse features the current portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.
The £2 bi-metalic coin is struck in select brilliant uncirculated quality with an outer gold-colored ring and a central cupro-nickel disc. The combined weight is 12 grams with a diameter of 28.4 mm. and an unlimited mintage. The coin will also be offered in a variation of gold, silver and silver piedfort examples which are currently on offer.
For more information about this and other coins on offer for 2013, please visit the website of the Royal Mint at: http://www.royalmint.com/ International orders fulfilled.