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. It was one of three new coins introduced into general circulation on the 15 February 1971 when the United Kingdom adopted a new decimal currency system. The other two new coins were the 1/2p and 1p coins (5p, 10p and 50p had been introduced earlier).
To avoid confusion between the old and new coinage all three coins initially had the word "NEW" incorporated into the reverse design; this was later removed.
Bronze was replaced for new coins with copper-plated steel in 1992. In 2008, a new design was introduced. The original coins are still current though, and circulate in parallel with the new ones. No two pence coins were issued for general circulation in 1983. Some Proof FDC and Brilliant Uncirculated coins were struck for the mint sets of the year only.
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.
Within a beaded circle, the Badge of the Prince of Wales: a plume of three ostrich feathers within a coronet, above the incuse German motto ICH DIEN ("I serve"). The numeral value 2 is written below the badge, and the value and denomination in words: TWO PENCE are around above.
Issued in Royal Mint coins sets only (637,100 in uncirculated sets and 107,800 in proof sets), not for general circulation.
Krause lists proof mintage of 107,800 under KM# 928, but elsewhere 125,000 as mintage of the PS43 proof set. Spink lists uncirculated set US02-1983 with mintage of 637,100 and proof set PS33-1985 with mintage of 107,800.
The denomination on the reverse was changed from "NEW PENCE" to "TWO PENCE". However, some coins were made in error with the wrong reverse saying "NEW PENCE". According to Spink, "reports suggest that the error coins, or "mules", were contained in some sets packed by the Royal Mint for Martini issued in 1983".