Issued ‘in celebration of football’, the 1996 football £2 coin is extremely popular with collectors. Its unique design and affinity to the beautiful game ensure it’s a coin that everyone wants to take possession of. Created in advance of the 1996 UEFA European Championships, it was extremely popular with members of the public at the time of its release and continues to be a cherished part of any coin collection.
Despite this, its value does vary, and you’ll find many examples on online marketplaces for as little as £5-£7. However, more than one version of the 1996 football £2 coin was released. As some editions are far rarer than others, their value is considerably higher.
If you’re in possession of a rare version of the 1996 football £2 coin, you’ll be pleased to know it could be worth upwards of £1,000.
What does the 1996 football £2 coin look like?
The obverse, or front side, of the coin, features a familiar portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Designed by Ralph David Maklouf, FRSA, it was the third portrait of Her Majesty to be used on coins and is present on examples dating from 1995 to 1996. Surrounding the portrait is the inscription, ‘Elizabeth. II. Dei. Gratia. Regina. F.D.’, as well as the face value of the coin, ‘Two Pounds’.
The reverse side of the coin was designed by John Mills and is made to resemble the iconic image of a football. Featuring the year, 1996, across two lines in the centre of the coin, areas are split into pentagonal shapes, as they are on footballs in real life. The design also features 16 small rings surrounding the central pentagon. At the top of the design, John Mills’ initials are visible.
Somewhat unusually, the design on the reverse side of the 1996 football £2 coin extends right to the edges. Typically coin designs are bordered by an inscription or a raised bevel but this is not the case with this commemorative coin.
Another aspect that is characteristic of the 1996 football £2 coin is the concave surface of the reverse. This adds texture to the surface of the coin, creates a raised visual effect and makes it instantly recognisable. As the only coin to be designed and minted in this way, it is, perhaps, one of the reasons why the 1996 football £2 coin is so popular amongst collectors.
The edge of this commemorative £2 is milled, meaning it has the familiar indents that you can feel when you run your finger around it. In addition to this, the words, ‘TENTH EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP’ are incused, or indented, around the edge of the coin, in reference to the UEFA European Championships.
1996 Football £2 Specifications
The 1996 football £2 coin has a more unique feel than many other coins due to the concave design on the reverse of the coin. However, checking the weight and specifications of your coin can help to determine if it’s a genuine article.
All versions of the 1996 football £2 coin are 28.40 mm in diameter but their weights do vary. The gold proof version of the coins weighs 15.97 grams, for example, while the silver proof weighs 15.98 grams.
It should be noted that the Piedfort silver proof 1996 football £2 coin weighs substantially more, at 31.96 grams. If you want to find out how much other coins weigh, check out our blog article on it.
How many 1996 football £2 coins were minted?
A total of 5,312,555 1996 football £2 coins were released by the Royal Mint. However, not all of these were released into circulation. In fact, only 5,141,350 coins made their way into general circulation.
An additional 86,501 were placed into brilliant uncirculated mint sets, while a further 84,704 specimens issued in a presentation folder were available. As well as this, 67,581 proof 1996 football £2 coins were released.
It’s important to note that the majority of 1996 football £2 coins were minted in cupro-nickel but other varieties were available. The 1996 UEFA commemorative £2 is also available as a silver proof, made from 0.925 silver, and as a gold proof, made from 0.917 gold. In addition to this, a thicker Piedmont silver proof version of the 1996 football £2 coin is also available. These variations are worth considerably more than the more commonly seen cupro-nickel versions and can sell for upwards of £1,000.
Another factor that can affect the value of any coin is whether any errors were made during the minting process. It is believed that some gold proofs were created using incorrect blanks.
Rather than featuring the concave texture on the reverse of the coin, these examples are flat. Although it’s not known how many of these coins made their way into circulation, they could be worth a considerable amount.
Is The 1996 Football £2 Coin Legal Tender?
As mentioned in our guide about spending old £2 coins, the 1996 Football £2 coin is indeed legal tender.
This means that you can use it in shops or other establishments, but due to the narrow application of legal tender in real life it is perfectly acceptable for a shop owner to refuse the coin as payment.
The coin is also worth more than the face value of £2 due to how collectable it is, so it really doesn’t make any sense to consider spending it in a shop. The only alternative would be to see if a bank or post office would accept the coin, which they likely will, or to get rid of the coin in a different way.
Why are commemorative coins released?
Although the £2 coin is now a common sight in purses and wallets, it wasn’t released in general circulation until 1998. However, the first commemorative £2 was issued in 1986 to celebrate the Thirteenth Commonwealth Games, held in Scotland.
Notable, all commemorative £2 coins, including the 1996 football £2 coin, were issued in single-colour nickel-brass, whilst the £2 coins which entered general circulation are bi-colour, featuring a nickel-brass outer ring and an inner steel-coloured disc.
Commemorative coins date back centuries, but they were first issued by the Royal Mint in 1935. At first, commemorative coins were released rarely and were only created to celebrate or remember important historical events. As time went on, however, the commemorative coins were released more frequently and, since 2000, they have been released on a yearly basis.
At the time the 1996 football £2 coin was released, it was rare for coins to commemorate sporting events. As one of the first sporting commemorative coins, it holds a special place in the hearts of football fans and coin collectors alike.