Basis of decision for putting Lord Kitchener on commemorative £2 coin

William made this Freedom of Information request to Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins, Medals, Seals and Decorations

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Dear Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins, Medals, Seals and Decorations

Please can you share anything about the deliberations, discussions, criteria or basis of the decision to put the Kitchener image on the first of the WW1 commemorative £2 coins.

Also is there anything you can disclose about the rationale, criteria and decision for images to be used on the next four coins. Many thanks

Yours faithfully

William Heath

Chris Barker, Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins, Medals, Seals and Decorations

Dear Mr Heath

Thank you for your enquiry of 25 January concerning the £2 coin issued to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War which has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, 2000.

In 2014 Britain will remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and The Royal Mint will embark on a five-year programme of commemoration charting the course of the war from outbreak to armistice.

This programme starts with a £2 coin bearing sculptor John Bergdahl’s image of Lord Kitchener’s iconic call to arms. This design was selected to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War because it has become so strongly associated with the outbreak of the war and is recognised by much of the population.

It is important to understand that this coin does not stand alone, but is part of a longer programme of coins that will commemorate the First World War. Over the course of the next four years, we will announce further circulating and non-circulating coins which will mark the centenary of the journey from Outbreak to Armistice. These coins will tell the stories of the armed forces, individuals, key battles and cultural and technological developments of that period, before finishing with a poignant reflection on the armistice and the ongoing legacy of the war.

The minutes of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, who decide on the design of United Kingdom coins and medals, contain more detailed information regarding the decision to use Lord Kitchener’s image for this year’s £2 coin design. This information is, however, exempt from disclosure under Sections 36 and Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Section 36 applies because the release of the information would be likely to inhibit the free and frank exchange of views between members of the Advisory Committee. This exemption recognises the role of free and frank discussion for the purposes of deliberation and members of the Advisory Committee need to be able to discuss candidly the merits of particular designs. The release of the minutes of the Advisory Committee would be likely to result in members being less willing to exchange their views freely and frankly in the future. Given the importance of securing appropriate designs for the United Kingdom coinage, there is a strong public interest in assuring that the Advisory Committee is not hampered in this way.

There is a strong public interest in maintaining the Section 43 exemption because the release of the Committee minutes would be likely to damage relations with artists making them less willing to submit artwork in the future. Information relating to the designs of the other four coins is also exempt under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act as it is commercially sensitive and its release would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the Royal Mint.

Yours sincerely

Chris Barker
Assistant Curator
[email address]
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The Royal Mint Museum
Llantrisant, Pontyclun
CF72 8YT
United Kingdom
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Tel: +44 (0) 1443 623004 (Direct)
Tel: +44 (0) 1443 222111 (Switchboard)
http://www.royalmintmuseum.org.uk

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