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
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
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
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