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Coin marking 50th anniversary of major LGBT+ rights milestone rejected because it ‘lacked appeal’

Emma Powys Maurice August 3, 2020
Commemorative coin

Commemorative coins marking the 100th anniversary of WW1 (Matt Cardy/Getty)

A commemorative coin marking the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK was rejected by the Royal Mint on the grounds that it was “commercially unviable”, it has emerged.

The coin was proposed in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised sexual acts which took place in private between two men over the age of 21. It was a landmark milestone in the fight for equal rights in the UK.

The Royal Mint has approved commemorative coins for notable British icons including Sherlock Holmes, Beatrix Potter characters and Paddington, but the LGBT+ coin was abandoned because the advisory board thought it wasn’t collectable enough.

“The marketing department at Royal Mint ultimately came to the conclusion that [it wouldn’t] be commercially viable, the homosexuality theme because of the lack of appeal it was likely to have for collectors,” read the minutes of the Royal Mint advisory committee, obtained by the Daily Mail.

The minutes show that at the same meeting the committee seriously considered a coin to mark the release of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album, but this was rejected for licensing reasons.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell condemned the committee’s “bizarre” reasoning to scrap the LGBT+ coin.

“It seems bizarre and quite appalling that the anniversary was not deemed significant enough,” he said.

“The argument that it was not commercially viable sounds like a cop-out. For millions of LGBT+ people and straight allies, this would be a coin worth having.”

A Royal Mint spokesperson told the Mail: “UK coins play an important role in marking the moments that shape modern Britain — including pivotal social and political movements such as the Representation of The People Act and the bicentenary of the end of slavery.

“We are already developing coin themes to commemorate events and individuals linked to the British LGBT movement — although these are currently confidential, we will be able to share more in due course.”

More: 1967 Sexual Offences Act, Commemorative coin, decriminalisation of homosexuality, Peter Tatchell, royal mint

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