The introduction into circulation today of a new 50p to commemorate the UK’s departure from the European Union has produced another example of ‘rage fundraising’, or donating to charity in response to a polarising political act or decision.
The cupro-nickel coin is the only one being created to mark the country’s departure after 47 years of membership of the EU and its predecessors.
— The Royal Mint (@RoyalMintUK) January 26, 2020
Peace, prosperity and [honest] friendship with all nations
On the reverse of the coin is the phrase “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, together with, unusually for a UK coin, the date, 31 January 2020. The phrase, according to the Royal Mint, is inspired by a quotation from the first inaugural address by Thomas Jefferson, third president of the USA.
The original phrase was “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations” which he presented as an essential principle for his administration. The Brexit coin notably omits “honest” from the qualities it extols.
This is the Conservative government’s second attempt to produce a commemorative coin to mark leaving the European Union. One million coins were produced in October, in anticipation of the UK leaving the EU on 31 October. When that could not be secured, the coins were melted down and the metal saved until another leave date could be confirmed.
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About three million of the 50p coins enter circulation today, with a further seven million to follow.
The 1973 50p marking the UK’s entry to the EEC had a circulating mintage of 89,755,000.
Individuals donating their 50p coins to charities
Let's try to do something good with these 50p coins and donate every one of them to charity.
— David Evans (@dave161256) January 26, 2020
I can see lots of donations of these to good causes hopefully. Any I get will certainly be going that way. A black day in our lives not something to celebrate.
— Anne-Marie Mackin (@ammackin) January 26, 2020
— Angie (@AngiecarterUK) January 26, 2020
Some of those who object to Brexit and/or to the commemoration of the event (or beginning of the process) with a coin have publicly mused on how to respond to the coin. Suggestions have included:
- donating the coin to charity
- selling the coin at inflated prices to Brexit supporters keen to own a keepsake and then donating the money to charity
- taking the coin out of circulation by storing it at home
- defacing or damaging the coin (you might want to check Section 10 of the 1971 Coinage Act beforehand)
Noooo! Sell them for a profit to brexit zealots on ebay and then give the lot to @scotrefcouncil
— ET 🏴🇪🇺 (@BurnThosePlans) January 27, 2020
Some have been declaring that they would donate any such 50p coins that they came across to charities. Often they have specified charities who causes they suggest are particularly appropriate in that they appear to represent opposite concerns and priorities to those who have focused on Brexit.
I will be donating every one I receive to charities supporting those most affected by Brexit.
— 🕷Argentology®🕷 (@Argentologist) January 26, 2020
Some simply took the coin as a glass (or collecting tin) half-full opportunity to do some good with the situation:
A coin just to drop in a charity box. At least something good can come of this nonsense
— Peter Keen (@PK054) January 26, 2020
I'll be immediately dropping each and every single one I'm handed into the charity tub at the counter… Every cloud.
— SuchANiceDay (@reddiesel) January 26, 2020
In other cases they have chosen charities that they see as needing support to protect people and issues that will likely suffer as a result of Britain leaving the EU, or which have already suffered while the government devoted extensive time and money to the Brexit process.
Thank you. That is what I intend to do. Either @RefugeesAtHome small charity matching hosts with a spare room, with refugees who need a temporary home. Or @credit4refugees so refugees can call their families. If my family needed either, I want them to find this help.
— Hazel Wright (@HKW1981) January 26, 2020
Every one I get, I will be donating to a refugee charity. So I'll take your right wing rhetoric and use it for good. https://t.co/bWsikGK2c0
— Danielle (@DanielleYorks) January 26, 2020
Going to put every single one I receive in a jar, to take them out of circulation and donate the total of the money saved to foodbanks and refugee charities. 💙🇪🇺💛
— 🇪🇺 Smells Like White Spirit 🇪🇺 🐝🖌 🦊 (@HawkHouseCrafts) January 26, 2020
I’m donating any #Brexit50p coins I receive to charities designed to stop hate & racism.
— Anita Sethi (@anitasethi) January 26, 2020
I'm doing this https://t.co/XLUrgsBt3h
— Lucy Caldicott (@LucyCaldicott) January 27, 2020
My first thought was to drop such coins down a drain to remove them from circulation but on reflection I will pass them to homeless people living on the streets – many of them from other nations.
— John Holland (@peanutsholland) January 26, 2020
If you get one give it to the homeless the food banks and hospitals!!!!!
— Colin Maher (@ColinMaher10) January 26, 2020
Others simply commented that the notion of a commemorative coin was looking dated to some, given the rapid rise in cashless payments:
Great excuse to move to a cashless society.
— Sinatra Surveyor (@EuKnowIt2) January 26, 2020
Good for boomers I guess, rest of us pay on contactless
— Paul Weaver🖖🔶 (@UKWeaver) January 26, 2020
Starting a movement
Some have suggested ‘starting a movement’ to harness the discussions and help encourage more people to donate their 50ps.
We have decided that we will donate any that we receive to a local charity. Can we start a movement to get something good out of this?
— Alison Holder (@alisonmalvern) January 26, 2020
Fundraising consultant John Thompson has a distinguished track record in this area. For several years he has taken it upon himself to turn the introduction of new currency and coins into opportunities for mass public donations of everyone’s first and last such banknotes or coins in their possession.
— JOHNNY FIVE (@JTCHANGINGBIZ) January 26, 2020
Some have suggested making the most of such donations, including the idea of rounding up the gift to a £1, thereby doubling the value of the original gift:
Let’s take this symbol of the idiocy of #Brexit and turn it into something positive. For every 50p coin we get let’s round it up and donate to @jcwi_uk or similar cause and keep letting them know that we are neither going away nor giving up.
— Miles Flint (@MilesFlint) January 26, 2020
There is certainly a large target for such a campaign:
I will be donating every Brexit coin I get in 2020 to @RefugeeAction at the end of the year. I hope to raise £5 million, the face value of these coins minted.
Please join me at https://t.co/BnoS9p1Doh
— Paul Sayers (@NotFactChecker) January 26, 2020
Groups inviting 50p donations
Some voluntary groups or campaign organisations have started encouraging those donating their 50p coins to consider their organisation.
— Refugees at Home (@RefugeesAtHome) January 27, 2020
And Refugees At Home are reporting early successes:
Thanks Howard! The #Brexit50p campaign has been quite successful for @RefugeesAtHome, we’ve grown our Twitterbase and won some new friends too. Hoping to see some cash donations in due course, we’ve set up a @JustGiving page.
— Sian Mexsom (@sianmexsom) January 31, 2020
Overwhelmed by people offering to donate their #Brexit50p coins to us 💚
We've spent 25 years working to make Berkshire a place of peace, prosperity, and friendship for all Refugees.
— Reading Refugee Support Group (@ReadingRefugees) January 27, 2020
We'd love to you consider donating your #Brexit50p to Boaz. We're providing welcome and sanctuary for #refugees who, in their search for the peace mentioned on these coins, have fallen into destitution. Please help us and give #50psForRefugees https://t.co/xRBL8v9rL9 pic.twitter.com/uO80PjY6QD
— The Boaz Trust (@boaztrust) January 30, 2020
Donating your #brexit50p to @Care4Calais couldn’t be easier – just pop down to your local co op bank and pay into the care4calais account. Every penny will go to help desperate refugees in Northern France. #brexitcoin #Brexit50pCharityBox
— Care4Calais (@Care4Calais) January 26, 2020
What to do with the Brexit 50p coins is not the only controversy that the coin has evoked.
The lack of a comma between “prosperity” and “and”, an Oxford comma, has been criticised by Sir Philip Pullman amongst others. He called on “all literate people” to boycott it for that reason.
The 'Brexit' 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) January 26, 2020
My precious humour
Fortunately, amid this rage fundraising, some can still make light of it.
Ah yes. The new 50p. Or as we called it before the referendum, a pound
— Dave Phipps (@quizzimodo) January 26, 2020
They cannot be unaware of the similarities of these two images. pic.twitter.com/OZ8r6PdiBO
— Lee Harvey (@valleyguitarist) January 26, 2020
Top image: The Royal Mint
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