07 January 2021
In January 2020, The Royal Mint issued a special 50p coin bearing the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’. Find out more about the background and value of the coin, widely known as the 'Brexit 50p', in our special guide.
Discover more about the Brexit 50p
The arrival of the Brexit 50p, officially known as the 'Withdrawal from the European Union 2020' 50p coin, didn't go smoothly – just like the political maze of the Brexit process itself.
- 10,000 coins expected: The 50p Brexit coin was unveiled by former Chancellor or the Exchequer Philip Hammond with the intention that the coin would have a mintage of around 10,000 and be issued in March 2019.
- Millions of coins: In August 2019, with Brexit still being debated, Chancellor Sajid Javid said he wanted to add millions of 'Brexit' 50p coins into circulation, changing the initial plans for the commemorative coin to remain 'uncirculated'.
- Brexit delays: With delays to the Brexit process, the planned design, with the date of the UK's departure from the EU detailed as 31 March 2019, was updated to read 31 October 2019.
- Protests against the coin: Not everyone approved of the idea of the 50p coin. Liberal Democrat councillor Eleanor Rylance protested against the coin and encouraged the general public to return the coin to the bank and ask for an alternative if and when it was issued.
Millions of coins melted down
- Millions melted down: just days before the UK was supposed to leave the EU in October 2019, it was confirmed that approximately 3 million coins would be recycled since the date of 31 October would be incorrect.
- Eventual release of the Brexit 50p: The Brexit 50p was officially released on 31 January 2020, on the day the UK left the EU and started a one-year transition process. It was revealed that 7,000,000 copies of the coin would be entered into circulation over the course of the year, and this number soon went up to 10 million.
- Disapproval from some quarters: it was no surprise that the eventual release of the coin was not met with approval from all sides. Author Philip Pullman said on twitter: 'The 'Brexit' 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.'
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So how rare are the Brexit 50p coins?
With a reported 10 million in circulation and The Royal Mint's official mintage being 'unlimited', the coin is hardly rare. So you may wonder why you don't see many of the coins in your loose change.
According to reports, the coins are being taken out of circulation by collectors and by those who do not approve of the coin, although The Royal Mint confirmed it is normal for people to keep unusual coins when they are initially issued.
Examples of the Brexit 50p have been sold on auction sites such as ebay for around £2 - £3, but we recommend you keep an eye on your change to find an example for face value.
Whilst some newspapers reported that versions of the coin with the incorrect date may surface, no find have been reported.
A Brilliant Uncirculated version of the coin, costing £10 from The Royal Mint, proved very popular when the coin was first issues, with demand crashing the RM website. This version of the coin is still available.
The design and details of the Brexit 50p
The commemorative coins are engraved with the words “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” along with the 31 January 2020 date. The versions of the coin released were as follows:
- Circulation coin
- Brilliant uncirculated (available for £10)
- Silver Proof Brexit 50p (mintage of 47,000, retailed for £62.50 and now sold out)
- Gold Proof Brexit 50p (mintage of 1,500, retailed for £1,100 and now sold out)
- A two-coin set was also made available, including the Brexit 50p and the 1973 50p coin which marked the United Kingdom’s accession into the European Economic Community. This set was limited to 5,000 copies, retailed at £30 and has now sold out.
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