London: The UK government on Sunday unveiled a new 50-pence commemorative Brexit coin ahead of the UK's exit from the European Union (EU) next Friday.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, who is also the UK's Master of the Mint, said the new coin marks a new chapter in the country's history as he was handed the first batch of the Brexit coins. He will present one of them to Prime Minister Boris Johnson next week.
Leaving the European Union is a turning point in our history and this coin marks the beginning of this new chapter, said Javid.
The 50p coin bears the inscription "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" and the date the UK leaves the EU January 31, 2020.
Around 3 million of the coins will enter banks, post offices and shops across the UK from Friday, January 31, with a further 7 million entering circulation later this year. More than 13,000 people have already registered their interest in a commemorative version of the coin, which is available to buy from the UK's Royal Mint.
As part of the launch, the Royal Mint said it will open its South Wales headquarters for 24 hours to let people strike their own commemorative coins next Friday.
Javid had first ordered the production of the coins ahead of the UK's previous departure date of October 31, 2019.
But parliamentary deadlock meant the government missed that deadline and about a million of those coins had to be melted down for these new set.
Earlier this week, Johnson had formally signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement at Downing Street after European Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen had sent back a signed copy.
It is now back with Brussels for the European Parliament to vote it through next Wednesday, a move seen as a formality.
Once the legal processes have been completed, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will sign the UK's instrument of ratification, which will then be deposited in Brussels ahead of exit day. In Brussels, the EU will do the same in order for the UK to formally leave at 2300 GMT next Friday.
From February 1, the UK enters into an agreed 11-month transition period in which it will continue to follow EU rules but without representation at any of the economic bloc's institutions.
This arrangement will come to an end on January 1, 2021, by which time the two sides hope to have completed negotiations on their future economic and security partnership as part of a new agreement.
The UK had voted to leave the 28-member economic bloc in a referendum in June 2016, a vote which comes into effect this year.