Brexit 50p coins due to appear in pockets as three million enter circulation

31 January 2020, 10:43

Millions of coins have been minted to commemorate Brexit
Millions of coins have been minted to commemorate Brexit. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Brexit coins will start showing up in people's pockets as three million commemorative 50ps are due to enter banks, post offices and shops from Friday.

Another seven million of the coins, minted to mark the UK's departure from the EU, will enter circulation later this year.

People who do not want to wait to spot a Brexit 50p in their loose change can go online and buy a commemorative coin.

The Royal Mint has produced versions for sale which range from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated 50p to £945 for a limited edition gold coin.

The Mint said it is the fourth time it has been involved in the production of a commemorative coin to mark the UK's relationship with the European Union.

It produced a coin when the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, created a design for the single market in 1992, and marked the UK's 25th anniversary of joining the EU in 1998.

Chancellor Sajid Javid previously gave people a first glimpse of the new coins.

The coins are dated January 31 - and the chancellor has said the coins mark the beginning of a "new chapter".

Mr Javid originally ordered production of the celebratory coins in advance of the previous departure date of October 31.

But the Brexit delay meant about a million coins had to be melted down and the metal put aside until a new exit date was confirmed.

The coins have already sparked controversy before entering circulation - and not just for political reasons.

Their inscription reads: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations."

Author Sir Philip Pullman has called for the coins to be boycotted for not having an Oxford comma.

An Oxford comma is used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, so would be placed after the word "prosperity".

His Dark Materials author Sir Philip wrote on Twitter that the omission meant the coin should "be boycotted by all literate people".

Some other commentators have disagreed with Sir Philip, arguing the use of the comma is optional.

The punctuation mark takes its name from its use by the Oxford University Press (OUP).

On its use, the OUP's style guide states: "In a list of three or more items, insert a comma before the 'and' or 'or'."

Lord Adonis and Alistair Campbell have also announced they will boycott the coin for political reasons.