The first images of the Brexit 50p have been unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid, with the coin set to enter circulation on Friday, 31 January.
The coins will flood banks and stores nationwide to mark Brexit day.
Here, Which? explores whether it’s worth hanging on to a Brexit 50p coin as a collector’s item if you find it in your change.
What does the Brexit coin look like?
Images unveiled over the weekend confirm what we all expected: the coin’s design is the same as the now-infamous ’31 October 2019′ design, but with 31 January 2020 replacing the former date.
While other commemorative coins tend to depict what they are celebrating (the Paddington 50p has a picture of Paddington on it, for example), the message ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ is not explicitly Brexit-related.
Author Philip Pullman criticised the coin’s punctuation, noting the lack of an Oxford comma after the word ‘prosperity’. An Oxford comma can be used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, but using one isn’t essential. Which? is not officially weighing into the debate, but our house style is not to use one in most cases.
How rare is the Brexit 50p?
Once it enters circulation, the new Brexit coin will not be rare.
Three million are scheduled to circulate on 31 January, with seven million more to follow over the rest of the year.
With 10 million in circulation, the Brexit 50p will have a higher mintage than any 2018 design. It’s possible that the last commemorative coins to have circulation figures like these were the Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny designs from 2017.
This would make the Brexit coin one of only three commemorative 50ps to receive 10 million mintage since 2015. The Royal Mint hasn’t released 2019 mintage figures yet, so we can’t be certain this is the case.
How much is the Brexit 50p coin worth?
While some coins do eventually have resale value above their face value, the Brexit 50p is technically only worth 50p. That’s 59 cents in euros.
There’s no guarantee that any collectible coin will ever be worth more than the number on its face, as multiple experts warned on the coins episode of the Which? Money Podcast:
How likely am I to find one?
Whether you’re avoiding them or seeking them, there’s no way of knowing exactly how likely you are to find a Brexit 50p in your change. Banks, post offices and shops will receive them on 31 January, so you might be more likely to find one around this time, while they’re ‘fresh’, and before people take them home.
If waiting to find one by chance doesn’t appeal to you, uncirculated versions of these coins will be available to buy from the Royal Mint website. Some 13,000 people have registered their interest online so far, but at the time of publishing it wasn’t clear when the coins would go on sale.
What are the rarest 50p coins?
The table below shows the 50ps with the lowest numbers in circulation. It’s important to remember, though, that mintage is not the only factor that affects a coin’s rarity or value as a collector’s item.
Brexit 50p timeline
Much like Brexit itself, the Brexit 50p has had a bumpy ride, facing multiple delays since it was first announced.
October 2018: Philip Hammond, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced plans for a Brexit coin to be issued on the day the UK left the EU.
At the time, this was pencilled in as 29 March 2019. The coin was expected to say ‘Friendship with all nations’, and 10,000 were planned to be circulated.
March 2019: After Parliament voted to reject the government’s Brexit deal, the UK did not leave the EU and no coins were produced.
August 2019: Reports emerged that Sajid Javid, who had taken over as Chancellor, was planning to get millions of Brexit 50ps into circulation in time for the new exit date of 31 October – a huge increase on the thousands Philip Hammond had planned.
Images of this coin’s design were released to the press. It looked the same as the final design, but with the 31 October 2019 date engraved. Including this date was seen as bold, since leaving the EU on that day seemed far from certain.
October 2019: When the UK did not leave the EU on 31 October, the Royal Mint melted down millions of Brexit 50ps that had already been produced.
January 2020: Over a year after the idea was floated, the Brexit 50p will enter circulation.
- Find out more: more coins stories from Which?