The latest set of precious metal releases based on one of the United Kingdom’s circulating coins has now debuted, and this time it is the turn of the biggest coin in the range, the £2. Until the launch of the new 12-sided £1 coin next year, the £2 coin remains the only bimetallic item in use, and as usual, the look has been replicated, if only superficially, on the gold and silver versions.

The design is a good one, like a traditional medieval wood engraving. It shows the houses along the riverline burning, with a view from the River Thames itself. To replicate the bimetallic look, the silver coin has selective gilding around the outer area of each face. The gold coin is struck in two types of gold, each 22kt in purity, that’s 91.67% pure gold. The inner section is yellow gold, usually gold mixed with silver. The outer is red gold, likely with copper instead of silver, much like the famous Krugerrand bullion coin. The obverse is the now standard effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark, the Royal Mint currently being the only mint allowed to use it, although we’d expect its use to spread over the next few years.

The ½oz gold coin sells for £750.00 and is presented in a fine quality polished wooden display box. The mintage in this form is limited to 800 units, but total mintage for the coin when the various sets are included is 1,000. The silver coin is available in two versions, both having the same diameter, but different thicknesses. The standard 12g coin sells for £60.00, the double-thickness 24g Piedfort coin for £100.00. Like the gold, mintages for this presentation are a bit lower than the total as these coins turn up in various sets as well. Available to buy now.



The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened but did not reach the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II’s Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll is unknown but traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded, while the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims, leaving no recognisable remains. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1700 °C.

The Great Fire started at the bakery of Thomas Farriner on Pudding Lane shortly after midnight on 2 September and spread rapidly west across the City of London. The major firefighting technique of the time was to create firebreaks by means of demolition; this, however, was critically delayed owing to the indecisiveness of Lord Mayor of London Sir Thomas Bloodworth. By the time that large-scale demolitions were ordered on Sunday night, the wind had already fanned the bakery fire into a firestorm which defeated such measures. The fire pushed north on Monday into the heart of the City. Order in the streets broke down as rumours arose of suspicious foreigners setting fires. The fears of the homeless focused on the French and Dutch, England’s enemies in the ongoing Second Anglo-Dutch War; these substantial immigrant groups became victims of lynchings and street violence. On Tuesday, the fire spread over most of the City, destroying St Paul’s Cathedral and leaping the River Fleet to threaten Charles II’s court at Whitehall, while coordinated firefighting efforts were simultaneously mobilising. The battle to quench the fire is considered to have been won by two factors: the strong east winds died down, and the Tower of London garrison used gunpowder to create effective firebreaks to halt further spread eastward.

The social and economic problems created by the disaster were overwhelming. Evacuation from London and resettlement elsewhere were strongly encouraged by Charles II, who feared a London rebellion amongst the dispossessed refugees. Despite numerous radical proposals, London was reconstructed on essentially the same street plan used before the fire



As Britain builds towards the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, The Royal Mint has struck precious metal variants of the £2 coin that marks the occasion, following on from the earlier issue of the Brilliant Uncirculated coin.

The Great Fire of London £2 captures the moment 350 years ago when devastation hit London and its inhabitants were forced to ‘leave all to the fire’. This dramatic event brought about destruction that would go on to shape the iconic skyline of the London we know today.

Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin, said: “The Royal Mint was based in the Tower of London at the time, and provided a safe haven when the Great Fire took hold, so it is fitting that we are to commemorate this famous event in British history with the creation of The Great Fire of London £2 coin. We are particularly proud that the honour of designing this coin has been won by Royal Mint designer, Aaron West.”

The coin design, by Royal Mint designer Aaron West, carries the fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on its obverse. The coins, already available in Brilliant Uncirculated editions, are now to be struck in Limited Edition Presentation Gold Proof (800 coins), Silver Proof (7,500 coins) and Silver Proof Piedfort (3,500 coins) editions. The public can expect to see the circulating version of the design appear in their pocket change later this year.

Aaron West is a member of The Royal Mint’s own design studio. After achieving a degree in Graphic Design, Aaron worked in retail advertising, graphic design and teaching before taking up a career at The Royal Mint. This is Aaron’s first commemorative UK coin design.

For this commemorative reverse, Aaron West has captured the devastating scenes of the time from the perspective of one of the Londoners seeking sanctuary on the Thames.

“I knew that researching the Great Fire of London wouldn’t be problematic as there is so much research material and literature on the subject. It’s such a well-known story.

I began with the skyline of London, looking at the modern and old to create the design’s central point. The whole scene is viewed as if from one of these boats, gazing back at the chaos on the shore.”

Aaron West





£2 UKP 0.9167 GOLD 15.97 g 28.4 mm PROOF 800 (1,000) YES / YES
£2 UKP 0.925 SILVER 24.00 g 28.4 mm PROOF 3,500 (5,000) YES / YES
£2 UKP 0.925 SILVER 12.00 g 28.4 mm PROOF 7,500 (10.500) YES / YES