Brexit 50p coin: When is it launching and how can you get one?

Sophie Gallagher
Sajid Javid holding the Brexit coin: PA

Britain is set to leave the European Union on Friday 31 January, and to mark the occasion the Treasury has commissioned a commemorative 50p coin.

The new coin, which features the inscription “peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations,” was unveiled on Sunday by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid.

It is the third iteration of the coin after previous versions were shredded and melted down as the Brexit date was missed and had to be changed on the coinage.

Plans to produce the coins were first announced by former chancellor Philip Hammond in the 2018 budget, but have since been taken on by Javid who currently holds the ‘master of the [royal] mint’ title.

Coins to denote historic events are regularly produced by the Royal Mint: the new Brexit coin joins other EU-inspired coinage such as the 1973 coin created when we joined the European Economic Community (EEC) and when the UK held the presidency of the EU council in 1998.

But it has already caused some controversy over its wording, with author Phillip Pullman saying it shouldn’t be used by “literate people” because it is “missing” an Oxford comma.

While pro-remain campaigner Alastair Campbell tweeted: “I for one shall be asking shopkeepers for ‘two 20p pieces and a 10’ if they offer me a 50p coin pretending that Brexit is about ‘peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ given it puts all three at risk.”

But if you do want to get a coin, where and when can you do so?

When is the Brexit coin launched?

Sajid Javid has already been given a small batch of the coins - one of which he has reportedly given to Prime Minister Boris Johnson - but the public will have access to them on 31 January.

To mark leaving the EU, the Royal Mint says three million coins will be in circulation on Friday, with an estimated further seven million to be produced by the end of 2020.

This isn’t the first time the Royal Mint has made a Brexit coin: in fact, it’s third time lucky.

They had originally planned for 1,000 prototype coins to be launched on 31 March 2019, but this was later pushed back to the exit date of 31 October. However when Britain again failed to successfully leave, the coin was put on hold.

Around one million coins had to be melted down and put aside until a new exit date was confirmed after the general election.

How can I get a Brexit coin?

For some lucky coin enthusiasts, the Royal Mint will be opening its doors for 24 hours from 00.01 to 23.59 on 31 January to allow people to strike their own coin - a feature only normally available to tour groups.

But if you haven’t already booked up (or won’t be in south Wales on Friday) then unfortunately you’ve missed your chance. Instead you should register on the Royal Mint website, providing your name and email address to be given priority access to the coins.

Alternatively you could just wait till the coins are out in the wild, which shouldn’t take long as 3m of them will be in banks, post offices and shops on Friday.

The Royal Mint says the coin will be available as gold and silver Proof editions, as well as a “brilliant uncirculated edition” and as part of a two-coin historic set.

In addition, a number of gold Sovereigns will be struck on the day and these particular coins will feature a portcullis privy mark.