It is not every day that a country is honoured to host the Olympic Games. For London, this has happened just three times, and the 2008 Olympic Games Handover £2 coin commemorates the handing over of the Olympic Flag in anticipation of London hosting the 2012 Games.
The coin consistently remains among the top 10 rarest two pound coins issued. They were also the first legal tender UK coin to display the London 2012 logo and the very first to reveal the Olympic emblem.
How Many 2008 Olympic Games Handover £2 Coins Are There?
The British two pound £2 coin was introduced in 1998. It was a bi-metallic coin that weighed 12 grams and measured 28.4mm in diameter, and 2.500 mm thick. In addition to the standard £2 coin, there have been several variations of the reverse design to commemorate important people and events.
The 2008 Olympic Games Handover commemorative coin was the 19th special edition two pound coin released, and the 12th under the 1998 two pound design introduced to replace the old £2 coin design. There were 918,000 of these special Olympic edition Handover coins put into circulation, and a total of 965,765 coins minted.
Additional mintages of this coin include:
- A Specimen version of a Brilliant Uncirculated issued in Royal Mint folder with a superior finish with a mintage of 47,765 specimens in a presentation folder with a 250,000 limited mint.
- A Silver Proof FDC version made of 0.925 silver with 30,000 issued. It was part of The 2008 United Kingdom Olympic Games Handover Ceremony Gold & Silver Proof two pound coin Set with an unknown mintage. The set contained two coins of the £2 Olympic Handover in Gold and £2 Olympic Handover in Silver.
- A Silver Proof Piedfort version with 3,000 0.925 silver coins issued with .925 sterling silver in the inner circle and plated fine gold in the outer circle.
- Finally, there was a Gold Proof FDC version of the coin made of 0.917 gold. 3,250 coins of this variety were minted to include individual coins and coins in sets. The sets included The 2008 United Kingdom £2 Gold Proof two coin Set (Olympic) with an unknown mintage that featured 2 coins, the £2 Olympic Handover and the £2 1908 Olympics Centenary as well as The 2008 United Kingdom Olympic Games Handover Ceremony Gold & Silver Proof £2 Two Coin Set with an unknown mintage consisting of 2 coins including the £2 Olympic Handover in Gold and the £2 Olympic Handover in Silver.
The gold version is 15.976 grams with two-tone gold using 22-carat yellow gold for the centre circle and 22-carat red gold for the outer ring.
The commemorative coin is among the 10 rarest two pound coins. Although it tends to move up and down in ranking very slightly, the Handover coin usually falls in the 5h rarest spot. In one assessment, it ranked in 6th place just slightly less rare than the Olympic Games Handover to Rio of 2012 and slightly rarer than the commemorative Centenary Olympic Games of 1908 coin that was released in 2008 as well.
The Design Of The 2008 Handover Olympic Coin
The coin is part of the two pound coins that were designed to commemorate a special event or to honour someone. It is a bi-metallic coin consisting of two different alloys. The outer ring is a Nickel-Brass, and the inner circle is CuproNickel.
The £2 style was issued every year with several of them as a commemorative type to celebrate important people, anniversaries, or to point out parts of British history. The 2008 Handover Olympic £2 Coin is part of the Technological achievement Technology type £2.
The reverse of the special commemorative Olympic two pound round coin features a design that was to commemorate 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 is incuse lettering with the words I CALL UPON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD
The design was created by the Royal Mint Engraving Team.
The obverse of the coin features the Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right that appeared on the two pound coin from 1998 to 2015. She is wearing the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Her Majesty’s grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1947. The initials IRB are present just beneath her portrait which stand for the artist Ian Rank-Broadley. Surrounding her head all around the outer circle reads the legendary 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.
What Does The 2008 Olympic Handover £2 Coin Represent?
On July 6, 2005, a very exciting announcement was made that the 2012 Olympic Games would be held in London. 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.
On August 24, at the end of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, people in London were looking forward with high anticipation to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The coin represents the official handover 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.
At the end of the 2008 Games, the flag bearers and athletes from each country entered the stadium. The national flag of Greece and the flags from Beijing and London were hoisted. After the closing speeches, the Olympic flag was passed from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London. Following, the Olympic flame was extinguished. Finally, the Olympic flag was ceremonially carried from the stadium.
The chairman of the London 2012 organizing committee, Sebastian Coe, encouraged the sale of the coins as mementoes 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.”
Where Can You Buy The 2008 Olympic Handover £2 Coin?
As always, finding coins online at eBay is a quick and easy way to find the ones you want.
Just make sure to do your homework before you seal the deal, so you are sure of exactly what you are buying. The average selling price on eBay.co.uk for this Olympic Handover coin is £6.82.
The Royal Mint has an online store that is great for uncirculated coins if that is what you are after. These relate to the different finishes of coins mentioned above such as proof and gold proof, and you can check them out below.