• 2 Pounds 2003, KM# 1037, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of DNA
  • 2 Pounds 2003, KM# 1037, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of DNA
Description

In 1953 scientists discovered the structure of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The double-helix model of DNA structure was first published in the journal Nature by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. The realization that the structure of DNA is that of a double-helix elucidated the mechanism of base pairing by which genetic information is stored and copied in living organisms and is widely considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. The true significance of their research was perhaps not fully understood at the time but today DNA is used as a vital tool in many fields of science, including forensics, medicine and genetics. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of what is arguably the most important scientific development of the twentieth century, The Royal Mint issued a new two-pound coin.

Obverse

Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: Ian Rank-Broadley

ELIZABETH·II·DEI·GRA·REG·FID·DEF ·
IRB

Reverse

Depicts the double helix spiralling across the face of the coin, highlighting the strands of chromosomes and the familiar letter notations for the four basic building blocks.

In molecular biology, the term double helix refers to the structure formed by double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids such as DNA. The double helical structure of a nucleic acid complex arises as a consequence of its secondary structure, and is a fundamental component in determining its tertiary structure.

Engraver: John Mills

DNA DOUBLE HELIX
JM
1953 TWO POUNDS 2003

Edge

Reeded with lettering followed by a decorative side view of a double helix

DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID

Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Bi-Metallic
Ring Nickel Brass
Center Cupronickel
Weight 12 g
Diameter 28.4 mm
Thickness 2.5 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Mint

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