The two pence coin is currently the second lowest circulating denomination of the British (decimal) Pound Sterling, after the half penny was demonetised in 1984.
In August 2005 the Royal Mint launched a competition to find new reverse designs for all circulating coins apart from the £2 coin. The winner, announced in April 2008, was Matthew Dent, whose designs were gradually introduced into the circulating British coinage from mid-2008. In a world-first concept, the designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins depict sections of the Royal Shield that form the whole shield when placed together. The shield in its entirety is featured on the £1 coin.
The new 2p coin design, which replaced the earlier 2p design by Christopher Ironside, depicts the second quarter of the Royal Shield, showing the Lion Rampant from the Royal Banner of Scotland, and the denomination TWO PENCE around above. The coin's obverse remains largely unchanged, but the beading (the ring of dots around the coin's circumference), which no longer features on the coin's reverse, has also been removed from the obverse.
One penny and two pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of 20p; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 1p and 2p coins in order to settle a debt.
The reverse depicts the second quarter of the Royal Shield, showing the Lion Rampant from the Royal Banner of Scotland, and the denomination TWO PENCE around above. Unlike the earlier (Ironside) reverse, there is no beading (ring of dots) around the coin's circumference.