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Royal Mint rejected coin commemorating decriminalisation of homosexuality due to 'lack of appeal'

Newly-released documents show plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 were rejected back in 2015.

2020-08-03

The Royal Mint rejected plans for a commemorative coin marking 50 years since the partial decriminaliation of homosexuality in England and Wales due to a perceived "lack of appeal", according to newly-released documents.

The government-owned producer of coins in the UK briefly considered introducing a limited edition coin celebrating 50 years since the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised consensual sex between men over 21 in England and Wales.

However, bosses at the Royal Mint rejected the proposal after deciding it would not be "commercially viable", The Mail on Sunday reports.

Documents from 2015 obtained by the paper following a Freedom of Information request show that the Royal Mint's advisory committee on the design of coins, medals, seals and decorations put the brakes on the plan.

According to the minutes for the meeting, "the marketing department at Royal Mint ultimately came to the conclusion that neither would be commercially viable, the homosexuality theme because of the lack of appeal it was likely to have for collectors."

LGBTQ activist Peter Tatchell branded the move a "cop-out".

"It seems bizarre and quite appalling that the anniversary was not deemed significant enough", the veteran human rights campaigner told The Mail on Sunday.

"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."

Despite the Royal Mint's decision, a famed LGBTQ icon will be appearing on British bank notes from 2021 thanks to the Bank of England, which is not connected to the coin producer.

Alan Turing, the World War Two codebreaker who later took his own life after being convicted of 'gross indency' because of his sexuality, will appear on new polymer £50 notes from next year.

The design will use the famous 1951 picture of Turing by Elliott & Fry which is part of the Photographs Collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

The new note will also include the mathmetician's signature, birthday in binary code, and a quote he gave to The Times newspaper on 11 June 1949 which reads: "This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be."