A 60p coin was on the verge of being created for the first time to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, newly released documents reveal.
The Royal Mint produced a design of the six-sided coin and carried out research which found support for the concept.
But a 60p piece for public sale in 2012 was shelved despite being recommended to Chancellor George Osborne as part of the celebrations to commemorate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
The Royal Mint said it took an internal decision not to progress with the 60p as it believed its programme of commemorative coins for the jubilee was “sufficiently comprehensive” following a review of its suggestions.
The details have come to light under Freedom of Information laws to secure the release of themes considered by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, the quango responsible for recommending designs of coins to the Treasury.
The Royal Mint initially refused to release the documents but was forced to disclose them by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) following a successful appeal by the Press Association.
But the Royal Mint declined to release the image of the proposed 60p coin, which was not intended for general circulation but as a commemorative collectable, on the grounds of “commercial sensitivity”.
A document from Kevin Clancy, secretary to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, and addressed to the Master of the Mint – Mr Osborne – under the subject “additional United Kingdom coins for Diamond Jubilee”, was written on February 24 2011. This was part of the regular process used by the Royal Mint to suggest ideas to the Treasury and to secure ministerial and then royal approval for new coin designs.
The document noted the Royal Mint was “concerned” that such an event of “huge national importance” should be marked with more than one type of coin, adding that Treasury officials had “no objection” to what it was proposing.
Under the recommendation section is included “a new 60p coin”, while it is further noted that officials wanted Mr Osborne’s approval within two weeks and royal approval after a further fortnight.
The document states: “It is recommended that an entirely new denomination coin – a 60p piece – should be produced to commemorate the 60 years of Her Majesty’s reign.
The proposed coin would be a six-sided bi-colour coin with round of nickel-brass and a shaped outer of cupro-nickel.”