Royal Australian Mint celebrates 30 years of iconic $2 coin


Exactly thirty years ago, Australia’s two dollar note was retired and the two dollar coin was born. Today (20 June 2018) the Royal Australian Mint (the Mint) celebrates the two dollar coin’s thirtieth birthday, looking back at designs and themes the coin has marked over three decades.

The two dollar coin was introduced on 20 June 1988 following a decision by the Treasurer, Paul Keating, to replace the two dollar notes as they were damaged too easily. Since then approximately 864 million two dollar coins have been produced by the Mint.

Numerous designers were invited to contribute designs for the two dollar coin based on a brief to include a representation of the head and shoulders of an Aboriginal Australian, the Southern Cross and Australian flora. The chosen design was prepared by Mr Horst Hahne, with inspiration taken from an original artwork by Mr Ainslie Roberts.

“In 1988 the two dollar coin joined Australia’s circulating currency and with it came the opportunity to honour the original inhabitants of Australia on our coins,” says Ross MacDiarmid, CEO of the Royal Australian Mint.

“In the 30 years since, the two dollar coin has continued to celebrate Australia’s history and culture. There have been many special edition commemorative designs marking Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, as well as milestones such as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne.”

To acknowledge thirty years of the two dollar coin, the Mint has produced a commemorative set that unites twelve of the designs that have entered into general circulation, including Anzac Day and Remembrance Day releases.

“The set is a celebration of the heritage, creativity and engineering excellence for which the Royal Australian Mint is renowned,” says Mr MacDiarmid.

The 2018 $2 Twelve Coin Coloured Uncirculated Set is available now from the Mint’s online store or Contact Centre: or 1300 652 020.

For media enquiries, including interviews with Mr Ross MacDiarmid, CEO of the Royal Australian Mint, please contact: Alice Brown,, 0418 164 769 or 6270 3470

Download images and video of the two dollar coin

The two dollar coin in numbers:

  • The Royal Australian Mint has produced approximately 864 million two dollar coins since 1988.
  • More than 160 million two dollar coins were minted in 1988 alone.
  • Over 15 million commemorative two dollar coins have entered into general circulation since 2012.
  • The Mint can produce up to 200,000 two dollar coins per machine per day.
  • Each 44 gallon coin drum contains 100,000 two dollar coins and weighs 693kg.
  • The two dollar coin is made from 92 per cent copper, 6 per cent aluminium and 2 per cent nickel.

Did you know?

  • The two dollar note was replaced with the two dollar coin because the note was only lasting six months or less whereas coins could circulate for up to 40 years.
  • The decision to introduce the two dollar coin followed widespread community consultation, including with organisations representing the visually impaired, the vending machine industry, retailers and financial institutions.
  • The size of the two dollar coin was determined after considering the needs of the visually impaired, alongside security considerations, a desire to avoid shaped coins and practical limitations to the diameter and thickness of coins.
  • Paul Keating had the privilege of striking the first two dollar coin at the Mint in 1988.