Barber Osgerby design new £2 coin commemorating 150 years of the London Underground

Barber Osgerby has revealed its design for a new £2 coin minted to celebrate the London Underground’s 150th anniversary in 2013. The coin shows a tube train emerging from a tunnel and carries a patterned edging inspired by Harry Beck’s infamous tube map design.

“Depicting the familiar image of a Tube train emerging from a tunnel, the outer ring of the coin is used graphically to suggest the tunnel walls. The rails traverse the coin’s outer ring, contradicting conventions of a concentric frame. A ground line references the exergue on classical coins and here the view changes from two-dimensional to perspective, creating a sense of movement.”

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Note the signature ‘EB JO’ in the bottom left corner.

Featuring the iconic London Underground New Johnston font, the coin also references the 1967 Victoria line train, chosen for it’s aesthetic simplicity and its wide recognition.

Commenting on the commission, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby said, “As well as being the oldest underground railway in the world, as an organisation the London Underground has been highly progressive, commissioning pioneering engineering, architecture and art.”

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The coin is one of two new ones struck by the Royal mint for 2013. The other has been designed by Australian artist Edwina Ellis and features the roundel underground logo which first featured on the Underground in 1908. Her coin is inscripted with the Underground’s infamous instruction to ‘Mind The Gap’ around its edging.

Edwina Ellis's coin features the London Underground roundel

Ellis, who previously created a masthead for The Times by employing cut wood engravings on polymer, used her iPad to design the new coin. The set of coins are struck as: Brilliant Uncirculated priced £20, Silver Proof priced £100, Silver Piedfort priced £200, and Gold proof priced £2000. Each set comes in a presentation folder designed by Royal Mint in-house graphic designer David Knapton, and includes a fold-out full colour poster featuring ‘Tales from the Tube’ and facts about each Underground line.


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.