DSC 4865fi 1 - The Underground's £2 coin

This coin (and its twin) were released late 2012 in advance of the 150th anniversary of London Underground. Seven years later I am writing about one of these – and one may well ask why is that? The reason is very simply that I’ve never seen one until now – it was yesterday I had a 1967 tube stock one in my change. It was a surprise however its not a perfect specimen, being considerably marked from usage. They are somewhat rare however. Its acquisition prompted me to do a post about these coins and also to show you the example I have in some detail.

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There is another coin made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the tube and it has a roundel. This was created by British designer Edwina Ellis who has also done a TfL poster – as well as commemorative one pound coins. Picture source: The Royal Mint

Below are two sample offerings consisting of the pair of 2013 Underground coins. The first is one from Royal Mail whilst the second seems to be a Royal Mail/Royal Mint collaboration. They’re not cheap, currently selling for £99 each issue, but if one is lucky and the coins’ value holds they could well sell for several hundred on Ebay.

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One of the product packages for the pair of coins. Source: Ebay

The train in question is Victoria Line 1967 stock. The last ran in service on 30th June 2011 thus one can too consider these unofficial commemorative coins to mark the end of the Victoria Line’s original trains. The roundel coin is nothing special really its just a typical one rendered in 3D. The one notable thing about this one is the inscription on the edge which reads as ‘Mind the gap.’ I suppose that makes it somewhat special!

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Another different presentation pack for the coins. Source: Ebay

The coins were designed by Barber & Osgerby and below are some ideas that were never used in the final designs. Do note however the commemorative package shown above adopts the idea from one of the unused designs in the sample below. The change however is the use of Central Line 1992 stock instead. The tunnel has changed too and it seems to be that from the ‘Big Tube!’ Its not even historically accurate lol. If they had used 1938 tube stock instead it would have been perfectly appropriate in terms of the tube’s history.

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Early designs for the 1967 tube stock coin. Note the drawings for the side of the coin. Source: Barber & Osgerby

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Top: Unused design for the 1967 tube stock coin. Bottom: The early stages of the 1969 tube stock coin. Source: Barber & Osgerby

NOTE: The above images from Barber & Oserby were deleted from their pages. However I have used images that were archived at the time of publication.

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An exceedingly fantastic and clean mint coin! Source: WorthPoint

Having seen the excellent detail in the above image, where do I fit in with my own £2 coin? That’s a good question! Lets see what I come up with… once we have considered the fact I have no fantastic new cameras with oodles of megapixels or any ‘L’ lenses – and sadly not even a macro lens that I possess. Perhaps its requiem for an amateur photographer lol!

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My somewhat battered £2 underground coin – probably worth no more than 10p! (unless it is, as you will no doubt realise, exchanged in value for goods to the nominal sum of £2.) Compare the engraving with the official LT photograph below for the 1967 tube stock.

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A good likeness in fact! (Apart from later mods seen on the coin.)

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Despite a lot of scratches and dents, the bottom of the coin – representing the pits between the platform tracks, as well as the train’s lights, coupling, etc. There’s still a good amount of detail and the initials of the coin’s designers is quite clear.

My attempt at five minutes of fame (or is it five micro seconds of fame….) will be to show the ‘line diagram’ on the sides of the coin. These represents the main symbols fond on an Underground map. There do not seem to be any sites on the Internet that have pictures of this so hopefully those shown below are the first…

Its not very easy to see the full detail with the naked eye, especially the simple stations which are found on the tube map as a small rectangle symbol. Balham is a simple interchange and both these symbols are the most prevalent on the sides of underground coin. The photographs I took are not technically macro shots, they were taken with an ancient and battered Sigma lens which I knew could get a little bit closer than most.

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The main simple station symbols featured on the underground map.

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The start (or the end) of the ‘line diagram.’ The ‘B’ stands for Barber (of Barber & Osgerby)

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The middle of the ‘line diagram’ with a double and simple interchange symbol, plus two simple stations. There are two double interchange symbols on the coin.

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The end of the ‘line diagram’ with two simple interchanges and stations.

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