Millions of commemorative Brexit 50p coins are likely to be delayed or maybe scrapped as the possibility of another Brexit extension looms.
Chancellor Sajid Javid asked for three million of the commemorative coins, which bear the words “friendship with all nations”, to be released into circulation by the end of October, marking Britain’s official departure from the EU, and had plans for an additional seven million to be struck over the next year.
But when prime minister Boris Johnson lost a key vote in the Commons earlier this week, the Brexit deadline has —yet again— been thrown into doubt, potentially ruining Javid’s 50p project.
Johnson has repeatedly insisted Britain will leave the EU before Halloween, despite warnings that a no-deal Brexit would hit the UK economy hard and cause debt to “skyrocket” — and said he’d rather be “dead in a ditch” than remain in the EU after the 31 October deadline.
The coins were originally intended to be collectors' editions, costing £10 each, but were then put into mass production on the order of the chancellor. The Queen and her Privy Council signed off on the plans earlier this month, giving the coins official legal tender status.
Asked by Yahoo Finance UK whether some coins had already been produced in advance of 31 October, the Treasury said “we cannot comment on the timelines as it is commercially sensitive information.”
But mystery surrounds if any of the 50ps even exist yet.
Earlier this month, The Mirror reported no coins had actually been made, with just 1,000 “trial coins” having been produced.
In a freedom of information request response, the Royal Mint said: "No coins have actually been minted.” Despite this, they insisted it was “on track” to produce the coins.
If —or when— Brexit is delayed, any coins minted with the October leaving date would be incorrect, increasing their interest to collectors. The Daily Telegraph reports these could be hundreds of pounds to “error coin” collectors.