A decision was made by the United Kingdom in 1994 to produce 2-pound (£2) coins for general circulation. Public input was sought regarding a theme for the design of the reverse face (back) of the coins; the obverse (front) would feature the standard bust of the Queen. Four years later, the British Royal Mint issued its first coin. The bi-color coins all have a nickel-brass (dark) inner component and a cupro-nickel (light) outer component. Designs would tell the story, through symbolic devices, of technological development from the Iron Age to the Industrial Revolution and from the Computer Age to the Internet. An edge inscription was included to identify the object or event being commemorated.|
Designed by Robert Evans, the third coin in the yearly series pays tribute to the contributions of Guglielmo Marconi. Per the British Royal Mint's website: "100th Anniversary of Marconi's 1st Wireless Transmission across the Atlantic. Radio waves decorating centre and outer border while a spark of electricity linking the zeros of the date represents the generation of the signal designed by Robert Evans." The chosen design contains a rendition of the familiar Smith Chart in the center (admittance circles drawn as implemented), with what can be interpreted as skywaves propagating around the Earth (DXers will appreciate that). Four radial lines emanate from the left edge of the Smith Chart, each containing two sets of three small circles when beginning with the bottom line and progressing counter-clockwise, move farther away from the origin, probably representing information packets moving through space. Why four lines and groups of three dots? Darned if I know. The innermost admittance circle has the year 2001 inscribed, with a portion of an electrical 'zap' between '20' and '01.' Hash marks on the inner rim of the circle at first look like compass rose increments, but they are actually irregular and most likely are suppose to look like frequency components on a spectrum analyzer. An inscription along the edge reads, "Marconi 1904 Wireless Bridges the Atlantic."
Some of the other designs include commemorations to Isaac Newton, the discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick, the steam locomotive engine by Richard Trevithick, structural engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (what a name!), Johannes Gutenberg's moveable type printing press, and nursing stalwart Florence Nightingale.
BTW, I love the British Royal Mint's listing in its credentials, "With more than 1,000 years of experience, the Royal Mint is planning for organic growth and sustainable profits." How many companies can claim a millennium of existence?
Thanks to RF Cafe visitor Paul P. for alerting me to the coin and for generously mailing one to me all the way from the U.K!
British 2-Pound Marconi Commemorative Coin