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Brexit Delay Sends Thousands of Commemorative Coins to the Scrap Heap

EntertainmentBrexit Delay Sends Thousands of Commemorative Coins to the Scrap Heap

LONDON — When Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that Britain would leave the European Union on Oct. 31, “do or die,” the government was so confident of the timeline that it minted thousands, possibly millions, of commemorative 50-pence Brexit coins including that date.

But the European Union has agreed to Britain’s request to push the departure by three months. Now, the coins are being scrapped along with that deadline. And, as with Brexit itself, this is not the first backtracking on such coins.

The Treasury did not disclose exactly how many Oct. 31 coins — in gold, silver and cupronickel versions — were produced, though British news reports have suggested that as many as 10 million coins had been planned.

All of them will be recycled, a Treasury spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Royal Mint and the Treasury declined to comment on the exact cost of designing and producing the coins.

The idea to produce commemorative Brexit coins was initially set in motion early this year by Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the Exchequer at the time. The Brexit deadline was then March 29, and Mr. Hammond arranged for 10,000 limited-edition coins to be minted with that date. The plan was to sell them to collectors for 10 pounds, about $13, apiece.

But the coins were left in limbo when Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit deal of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mr. Hammond told the BBC in March that those coins could become collectors’ pieces, but the Treasury spokesman said on Tuesday that they were also being recycled.

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