One Million Brexit Coins Melted Down After Johnson Misses Deadline

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(Bloomberg) --

The U.K. has used the seven-sided 50 pence coin to celebrate national achievements ranging from the London Olympics of 2012 to the work of children’s author Beatrix Potter.

Now about one million of the distinctive coins minted to mark the U.K.’s planned divorce from the European Union on Oct. 31 are being melted down. The Royal Mint acted after Prime Minister Boris Johnson requested a delay until Jan. 31.

As Bloomberg revealed in October, some of the coins had already been made when Johnson wrote to the EU asking for a Brexit extension. But the extent of his government’s over-confidence was only fully revealed on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the mint confirmed around one million Oct. 31 Brexit coins were made and will now be destroyed. The response came after a freedom of information request by the Daily Telegraph newspaper. She wouldn’t comment on the cost of the production and destruction of the coins, but the price will ultimately be borne by taxpayers.

In 2007, a 50 pence piece was produced to celebrate 100 years of the boy scout movement, bearing the legend “be prepared.” Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid and the Treasury may have taken that advice too literally.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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