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UK commemoratives: how are they chosen?

Started by <k>, February 26, 2017, 03:17:45 PM

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200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë, I presume they meant...

Personally I think that in the context of the various literary figures already commemorated on the UK's coinage, all three Brontë sisters would be worthy of commemoration. But we have already passed the anniversary of Charlotte's birth (1816), so commemorating Emily would attract the question of why Charlotte was overlooked.


Quote from: FosseWay on April 23, 2019, 09:29:39 PM
200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë, I presume they meant...

My bad, I have now amended the mistake.


Quote--50th anniversary of the death of Enid Blyton (50 Pence)

Although there were issues with the language used in the original versions of some of her books, her continuing huge popularity and steps taken to revise the language stood in favour of endorsing the theme.The Royal Mint sub-committee on the selection of themes for United Kingdom coins did however mention issues related to the holders of the intellectual property rights which the Royal Mint still had to look into.That is likely the reason that no such coin was issued.

This was the reason mentioned in documents I received. The media has earlier today received documents which state very different reasons. Documents in which Royal Mint bosses are being quoted as saying that "she is a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well regarded writer" and that they feared "adverse reactions" if they did issue a coin for her.


Royal Mint accused of sexism storm for rejecting coins to honor Emily and Charlotte Bronte

Royal Mint bosses have been accused of sexism for rejecting plans to honour novelist sisters Emily and Charlotte Bronte with special coins. The Mint's male-dominated advisory committee on commemorative coins was accused of failing to 'take women seriously' after snubbing the authors of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

The board, chaired by former Tory Cabinet Minister Lord Waldegrave, comprised ten men and three women when it met in 2016 and decided not to mint a coin to mark the bicentenary of Emily Bronte's birth in 2018. According to the committee minutes, obtained by this newspaper, members thought the honour would be 'inappropriate' because they had already rejected the idea of a coin to mark the bicentenary of her sister's birth two years earlier.

The board, chaired by former Tory Cabinet Minister Lord Waldegrave, above, comprised ten men and three women when it met in 2016. The minutes state: 'It was accepted that if her sister had not been commemorated in a previous year then it would be inappropriate to issue a coin for Emily.'

Details of the snub come just two months after The Mail on Sunday revealed that the committee had decided not to honour children's author Enid Blyton on the grounds that she was a 'racist homophobe, who was not well regarded as a writer'. But there would be no such controversy surrounding the Bronte sisters as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, both of which were published in 1847, are among the most celebrated novels ever written.

Author Dame Margaret Drabble said: 'It seems strange that two of the most important and influential writers in the English language should have been overlooked in this way and for such flimsy reasons. 'Their significance is beyond question so you can't help but wonder if this shows a reluctance to take women seriously. Emily would look particularly wonderful – her otherworldly profile like a Greek goddess would be very striking.'

Fellow writer Kathy Lette said women were being 'photoshopped out of the cultural narrative', adding: 'Blokes suffer from sexist Alzheimer's where women of substance are concerned.'

The Royal Mint rejected any suggestion of sexism. A spokesman pointed out they have a female chief executive and said the Brontes may be honoured on a coin in the future. She added: 'Women have featured prominently on UK coins for centuries – including monarchs and the image of Britannia.'


Now that statement in the last sentence is nonsense. Those female figures representing countries - Britannia, Liberty (US), Marianne (FR), Helvetia (CH) etc. - are allegories, not actual women in the sense of individuals that could be honored ... or not.



...Plus monarchs that are women have only been (until now) a last resort - when there are no male children.  Had the present Queen's parents had a third child that was a boy, Elizabeth II would never have happened, and she would have been pushed down the succession line by her brother's children.  The male child would have been King.

This has now changed - had Prince George been a girl, she would have become a future monarch regardless of how many younger brothers she had.


Another amusing double standard. Blyton was rejected, not for being a second rate writer or for being a woman, but for being racist and homophobe. As a boy, I was a fan of her "The Five" series and I distinctly remember that one of her heroes was Georgina, who wore boys' clothes, cut her hair short and wanted to be called George, but never mind. Now, we are going to see a very similar item for the Beatles, drugs users and propagandists (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Day tripper? Magical Mystery Tour? Strawberry fields forever?) and also vilified in their times for their habits but that is OK. I am wondering about Georgina Harrison now...

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Some themes that were considered for UK coins for 2020:

-- Paddington Bear shopping in Notting Hill (50 pence)

-- British Wildlife coins (Bullion coin)

A design by Thomas Docherty depicting a red deer had been recommended. Subsequently, however, it had been discovered that the design bore a strong resemblance to a coin issued by the Canadian Mint, leading the Royal Mint to decide that it would be unwise for them to progress with the artwork selected. A different design was chosen but the coin was never issued.


The Independent newspaper has obtained further documents about themes that were considered for UK commemorative coins of 2020. The documents amongst other things mentioned the idea to possibly issue a coin for the 125th anniversary of the National Trust. Members of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee however mentioned that they considered it a: "somewhat troubled and political organisation". They also mentioned that '125' was not considered to be a good anniversary. The idea to issue a commemorative coin for the occasion was subsequently dropped. The particular RMAC meeting took place in 2018, not long after the National Trust caused rows by making it mandatory for its staff to wear rainbow flag pins, and by abandoning the word 'Easter' from its Easter egg hunts, instead naming it the 'Great British egg hunt' to appeal to non-Christians. This is likely what the comments refer to. The National Trust declined to comment on the revelation of the Independent, mentioning that it considered the information of 3 years ago to be no longer relevant.

Although I do feel that the 125th anniversary of the National Trust was in fact an event that would be relevant enough for a commemorative coin, I am very glad that no coin was issued and that the National Trust was seemingly punished for its wokeness.


An excellent decision by the advisory committee. I was a NT member for years, but when they brought Churchill into the woke equation, for me it was the final straw. I am now a member of English Heritage. I know of quite a few others who are of the same opinion.