People Notice Something Missing On The New Brexit 50p Coin

by : Lucy Connolly on : 28 Jan 2020 09:16
People Notice Something Missing On The New Brexit 50p CoinHM Treasury/PA Images

Ever since the Brexit 50p coin was announced, it’s been embroiled in controversy.

Namely because of its design, how much it’s going to cost the nation, and the mixed messages it’s sending at a time when the country continues to be divided. I mean, ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship’ – really?


Now though, it seems the coin has been found to be even more controversial, with some people pointing out something vital is missing from the new 50p piece.

It all started when Sir Philip Pullman called for a boycott of the Brexit coin, taking umbrage because the Oxford comma is missing from the coin’s wording: ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.’

The author tweeted:


The ‘Brexit’ 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.

For the non-grammar nerds out there, an Oxford comma is the comma used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before ‘and’ or ‘or’. So in this case, the comma should be placed after ‘prosperity’.

However, it’s often a bone of contention between writers as it’s stylistic, meaning some style guides demand its use while others don’t. In other words, its use is entirely optional.


Susie Dent, from Countdown‘s Dictionary Corner, confirmed the Oxford comma was optional. However, she did say she prefers to use it as it’s ‘easier and more consistent to use it all the time’. She continued: ‘It clarifies things quite often.’

Stig Abell, the editor of The Times‘ literary supplement, agreed, tweeting: ‘Not perhaps the only objection, but the lack of a comma after “prosperity” is killing me.’

Frances Coppola, a finance and economics writer, recognised the split in opinion and compared it – quite aptly – to the divide over Brexit. ‘Whatever the choice, someone will think it wrong. There could not be a better commemoration of Brexit,’ she wrote.


The new coin was unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid over the weekend. He described the coin as marking ‘the beginning of an exciting new chapter in British history’, urging people to ‘look forward with confidence and unleash the enormous potential of our great country’.

This is the third time lucky for the coins; they were initially due for release on March 31, before Javid ordered more coins in advance of the UK’s original departure date from the EU on October 31.


However, the Brexit delay meant approximately 1 million coins had to be melted down until a new exit date was confirmed.

Although most of these old coins have since been recycled, having been melted down and remade into other coins, some of the ‘error coins’ might sneak their way into your wallet and make you a small fortune.

Savid JavidPA Images

How? Well, coin expert Colin Bellamy from Coin Hunter told The Sun that while it’s unlikely the latest Brexit coins will have lots of errors, if someone manages to get their hands on one with a wrong date they could make thousands of pounds in profit.

He explained:

Security is very tight at The Royal Mint, as I understand it – all but five have been destroyed.

If only five of each design dated March 29 2019 and October 31 2019 officially exist – and one or a few have somehow found their way out of the mint – I expect collectors would pay thousands of pounds for this significant piece of history.

With a level of interest this high – we should expect to see fakes on eBay in the next few months that show the dates March 29 2019 and October 31 2019 – so people must beware.

brexit coinHM Treasury/PA Images

Well, there you go. It turns out the Oxford comma isn’t the only mistake we might spot.

Happy hunting, folks.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, Brexit, EU, European Union, Money, Politics


Philip Pullman/Twitter and 2 others
  1. Philip Pullman/Twitter


  2. Sajid Javid/Twitter


  3. The Sun

    CHECK YOUR CHANGE Brexit 50p coin could be worth thousands – but only if you find one with an error