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One Million Brexit Coins Melted Down After Johnson Misses Deadline

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 11/19/2019 Thomas Penny
a close up of a rock: LLANTRISANT, WALES - AUGUST 01: New 50p coins are seen at the Royal Mint plant on August 1, 2014 in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint, formed over 1,100 years to produce coins for England and later Great Britain, is now the world's leading export mint, making coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year. However the primary responsibility for the Royal Mint, which moved from Tower Hill in the City of London to Llantrisant in Wales in 1968, is to make and distribute coins for the United Kingdom as well as to supply blanks and priduce official medals. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)© Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe LLANTRISANT, WALES - AUGUST 01: New 50p coins are seen at the Royal Mint plant on August 1, 2014 in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint, formed over 1,100 years to produce coins for England and later Great Britain, is now the world's leading export mint, making coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year. However the primary responsibility for the Royal Mint, which moved from Tower Hill in the City of London to Llantrisant in Wales in 1968, is to make and distribute coins for the United Kingdom as well as to supply blanks and priduce official medals. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Adam Blenford

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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