New Coins and Stamps Celebrate 150th Anniversary of London Subway

© Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby

It's the 150th anniversary of the London Underground (a.k.a. subway) and the government is pulling out all the design stops to honour its anniversary. The Tube has long inspired graphic and transit designers worldwide, who have praised it for its impact on smart public transportation.

Now, a new £2 coin is being issued, designed by the Olympic torch darlings Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. The £2 coin has been in common use here since 1998, but this is the first one to honour a subway car.

© with kind permission of The Royal Mint

The head side of the coin is is the familiar profile of the Queen. Tails is the first train on the Victoria line from 1967. The outer edge looks like the train is coming out of a tunnel, as well as being inspired by Harry Beck’s 1938 iconic Tube map. The side aspect resembles train tracks and the stations of the Underground. The coins are made out of cupro-nickel, nickel-brass. They will come into circulation this year.

READ MORE: The World's Most Impressive Subway Maps

© with kind permission of The Royal Mint

The other new coin has an image of the familiar Roundel on its front. That's the name of the logo marking the entrance to the subway stations and it was introduced in 1908.

Royal Mint/Promo image

If you buy a set of coins from the Royal Mint, they come in this great looking celebratory box.

READ MORE: On 150th Birthday of Its First Subway Ride, a Look at the Incredible Design Influence of London Transport

Royal Mail/Public Domain

In yet another salute, Royal Mail have released a set of six commemorative stamps. The designs all use familiar images, from the opening of the first steam-driven trains in 1863 (top left corner) up to the opening of the newest station (bottom right) 13 years ago. The horizontal line along the bottom of each stamp is a clever reference to the Tube map and the different colour of each train line.

Google/Public Domain

Even Google has gotten into the spirit: a Google Doodle, done with Transport for London’s blessing, was visible all day to anyone searching within the UK.

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

Tags: Artists | Designers | London | Public Transportation