How Gordon Brown saved the UK from a “Finnish Coin Disaster”

Less than 24 hours after the designs were unveiled, The Mint of Finland have scrapped designs for a program of coins marking the nation’s independence centennial.

The coin caused uproar on social media after the design, which appeared to show an execution during the Finnish Civil War, was released to the public.

The Mint of Finland scrapped designs for a program of coins marking the nation’s centennial after an uproar over this coin image showing an execution during the Finnish Civil War.  Image credit: Coin World

The coins were due to be put on sale on 4th May, but the Communications Director for the Mint of Finland confirmed that no coins had been struck. 

The Mint of Finland said that it “deeply regrets all the bad feeling caused by the images in the collector coin series.”

And a similar coin design disaster could have happened in the UK.

The Victoria Cross 50p that was ordered to be redesigned

Back in 2005, Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time) ordered a 50p coin commemorating the Victoria Cross be redesigned because it appeared to show a British soldier being shot in the back.

The original version of this design for the 150th Anniversary of the VC was reportedly personally vetoed by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown as it appeared to show a soldier being shot in the back.

The 50p coin was issued to mark 150 years of the famous Victoria Cross medal, which is the highest honour for gallantry which can be given to British and Commonwealth forces. However, the original design reportedly depicted a soldier carrying a wounded comrade, apparently in the sights of an enemy sniper.

A letter from the Chancellor’s aides to The Royal Mint said: “He (Mr. Brown) appreciates the designer’s attempt to portray the courage and selflessness of the British soldier carrying a wounded comrade while under fire. But he feels that the particular image of a British soldier apparently about to be shot in the back will not seem appropriate to many people.”

The ‘Heroic Acts’ 50p coin was designed by sculptor Clive Duncan to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross in 2006 along with another 50p designed by Claire Aldridge.