Around three million new 50p coins will be released into circulation today (31 Jan) to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The commemorative coins will start showing up in people’s pockets and wallets from today in honour of the so-called ‘Brexit day’.
After the initial release of coins today, a further seven million will enter circulation later in the year.
The coins have been specially commissioned to commemorate the historic day, with the Brexit date of 31 January 2020 printed on the coin.
Each 50p is also emblazoned with the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ on the tails side.
Chancellor Sajid Javid said the coins mark the beginning of a “new chapter”, and it joins a line of several other EU-inspired coins in the UK, including one marking when the country joined the European Economic Community in 1973, and when the UK held the presidency of the EU Council in 1998.
The Prime Minister will be one of the first to get his hands on the new 50p, when he holds a special cabinet meeting on 31 January at a venue in the north of England.
Third time lucky
The release date later this month marks the third time lucky for the release of the coin, having initially been due to enter circulation on 31 March 2019, when around 1,000 prototypes were made.
A second batch of coins were then manufactured when Brexit was delayed until 31 October 2019, but the UK’s leave date was pushed back once again.
After the planned release of three million coins on 31 October, a further seven million of the special 50ps were then due to follow within the year, each emblazoned with the exit date and the inscription.
Only around 1,000 of the coins were thought to have been created as part of the trial run.
In response to the questions about the production of the coins at the end of last year, the Royal Mint said, “We can confirm that Royal Proclamation has been passed for a fifty pence coin commemorating the UK’s departure from the European Union.
“This means the coin has become legal tender, and we will begin production in time for the UK’s departure from the EU.”
‘Should be boycotted by all literate people’
Author Sir Philip Pullman recently called for a boycott over Brexit 50p coin due to a ‘grammatical error’, urging people not to spend it because the Oxford comma is missing from the inscription.
Sir Philip took issue with the words on the 50p, stating it should be “boycotted by all literate people” for its omission of an Oxford comma.
An Oxford comma is used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, which in this case should place it after the word “prosperity”.
However, it is not used universally and is often a topic of debate for grammar enthusiasts. In this case, its exclusion has caused outrage for the author.
Commenting on the error, Sir Philip wrote on Twitter, “The ‘Brexit’ 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.
“But even worse than comma misuse is the advertiser’s habit of using adjectives as nouns, as in ‘Find your happy’, provoking most justly my wrath and indignation against them.”
How to get a Brexit coin
Those who are keen to get their hands on one of the Brexit 50p coins can buy one online from the Royal Mint website.
The Royal Mint has produced a number of different versions for sale, ranging from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated 50p to £945 for a limited edition gold coin.