In 1994, to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Bank of England, the Royal Mint released a Limited Issue Piedfort £2 Two Pound Silver Proof Coin struck in solid .925 Sterling Silver.
The Two Pound Coin or Double Sovereign was first authorised by the Mint Indenture and was intended to replace the old Two Guinea piece. Like the famous sovereign, although twice its weight, the first Two Pound coin featured Benedetto Pistrucci’s classic portrayal of St George Slaying the Dragon, a design which has appeared on most Two Pound coins since.
The 1994 coin, however, bears a new commemorative design celebrating the Tercentenary of the Bank of England. The Royal Charter creating the Bank of England was sealed on 27 July 1694 and the Bank opened for business shortly afterwards.
In style, the reverse of this handsome coin reflects the period in which the Bank was founded. At the centre sits Britannia looking on a Bank of Money just as she appeared on the Bank‘s original corporate seal, with the crown and cypher of William and Mary above and the name ‘Bank of England’ in familiar banknote script below.
The new design was created by Leslie Durbin while the obverse features Raphael Maklouf’s elegant portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Piedforts are coins which have been specially struck on thicker than normal blanks. As their name suggests they are closely associated with France, where from the twelfth century they were apparently issued by the Kings as presentation pieces.
In Britain the practise of striking piedforts is later and less frequent, but medieval and Tudor examples are known.
These legal tender coins have been struck to proof quality using specially prepared dies and highly polished blanks.