The William Shakespeare £2 Coins: How Much Are They Really Worth?

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death the Royal Mint produced 3 different Shakespeare £2 coin designs that entered circulation in 2016. These designs included the Comedies, Histories and Tragedies designs.

Want to know how much the coins are worth and how rare they really are?

Read the rest of this article to find out…

William Shakespeare Comedies £2

The first William Shakespeare £2 coin that we will focus on is the comedies design.

The average sale price for this coin is £3.23 on eBay in circulated condition, according to the most recent completed listings on eBay in 2022.

Design

The Shakespeare Comedies £2 Coin
William Shakespeare Comedies £2 Coin Design

The Shakespeare Comedies £2 coin features a design of a jester’s hat and cane by John Bergdahl inspired by Shakespeare’s most famous comedy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Around the milled edge, the inscription ‘ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE’ is to be found.

Is The Shakespeare Comedies £2 Rare?

The coin’s mintage is 4,355,000, which is the lowest amount of the three Shakespeare coins.

This mintage is not particularly low for a £2 coin, however. The greatest £2 coin, for example, has a mintage of just under half a million.

Are There Any Error Versions of The Comedies £2?

A common tactic used by eBay sellers is to list so-called ‘error’ coins to artificially increase the price of coins. Once one of these listings completes then it has the knock-on effect of other sellers also trying the same thing.

The Royal Mint has not confirmed any errors for the comedies £2 and any listing that includes this term should be ignored.

William Shakespeare Histories £2

The next William Shakespeare £2 coin that we are going to look at is the histories design.

The histories design is worth £3.29 on average in circulated condition according to completed listings on eBay in 2022.

Design

The Shakespeare Histories £2 Coin
William Shakespeare Histories £2 Coin Design

The Shakespeare Histories £2 coin features yet again a design by John Bergdahl of a Crown and Sword, this time inspired by the play Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s most famous history plays.

The edge is milled and features the inscription ‘THE HOLLOW CROWN’, a famous quote from Shakespeare.

Is The Shakespeare Histories £2 Rare?

This coin has a mintage of 5,655,000, which is the highest of any of the three Shakespeare £2 coins.

Despite this, it is still highly collectable as it is part of the 3-coin set and commemorates Shakespeare and his plays which are, of course, highly popular.

Error Versions

Again there are some listings that claim to be selling an error version of this coin but pay no attention.

The Royal Mint has not confirmed any errors for this coin, which is why you have to be cautious when buying any coins from eBay.

William Shakespeare Tragedies £2

Last but certainly not least is the Tragedies £2 which is the only coin of the set to have a confirmed error.

On average, the William Shakespeare Tragedies £2 sells for £3.21 on eBay according to the latest sold values in 2022.

Design

The Shakespeare Tragedies £2 Coin
William Shakespeare Tragedies £2 Coin Design

The Shakespeare Tragedies £2 coin as with the other two coins in this series features a design by John Bergdahl of a skull and rose.

The design was purposefully meant to represent a sense of doomed romance. Around the milled edge is the inscription ‘WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN’, a phrase from the monologue in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Is The Shakespeare Tragedies £2 Rare?

This coin has a mintage of 4,615,000 and hence sits in the middle in terms of the mintage amount of the three coins.

Whilst not particularly rare, the Tragedies coin makes part of the Shakespeare series and has an eye-catching design which makes it very collectable.

Another thing to consider is that due to how collectable these coins are, this will drive down the amount that is in circulation making them harder to come across.

Error Versions

The Shakespeare Tragedies £2 has a confirmed error in regards to the edge inscription.

The inscription should read ‘WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN’ but in some cases, it will read ‘FOR KING AND COUNTRY’ which was used for the First World War Army £2 coin.

This error version can sell for up to £50 on average on eBay and sometimes even higher.

What about the value of the coins as a set?

Coins that are part of a series always tend to be more popular – take the Paddington Bear 50p coins as an example – so you’re probably wondering how much all of the Shakespeare £2 coins are worth as a set.

We’ve had a look at eBay and the average value of the Shakespeare £2 coins -including the comedies, histories and tragedies coins- comes in at £9.45.

So, what exactly does this mean?

Well, if you are into buying and selling coins it definitely makes more sense to sell the coins individually as they are worth more this way.

However, for buyers, you can get better value if you buy the coins as a bundle, but only by a small margin. Remember that the cost of postage and packaging can quickly overcome any savings you could make due to the small margins involved.

Where Else Can You Buy The William Shakespeare £2 Coins?

If you want to purchase any of these coins from a coin retailer rather than eBay, there are some options.

These include the Royal Mint, where you can purchase proof versions including a gold proof version which costs a whopping £1,650! The Westminster collection also stocks the coins in brilliant uncirculated condition for around £13.

The drawback to purchasing from these retailers is the higher price, but this comes as a guarantee of the quality and what you are getting for your money.

All mintage figures can be found on the Royal Mint’s Website.