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Collect your World Cup commemorative mug featuring … Barack Obama?

U.S. President Barack Obama.


Talk about adding insult to injury.

The English squad has already been knocked out of World Cup play, but U.K. soccer fans looking to purchase a commemorative set of mugs featuring country's team could have received a big surprise.

Front and centre on one batch of mugs, in the spot reserved for defender Chris Smalling, was the face of U.S. president Barack Obama.

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As reported in People magazine, the soon-to-be collector's items were produced by an unidentified manufacturer in Dorset, U.K., which only discovered the mistake after 2000 of the mugs had been produced.

The company promptly shipped the flawed mugs to Wholesale Clearance U.K., a surplus stock supplier and bankrupt goods wholesaler, which is currently selling them to the public.

According to the product description accompanying the mugs on the website, the company that originally produced the mugs blamed the gaffe on a junior associate.

"They passed this onto the young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new apprentice," reads the flowery copy. "The designs were proofed and signed off by [his] boss, who clearly had a heavy night with the lads playing poker and before he'd had his first vat of coffee the following morning."

And just in case the name Wholesale Clearance U.K. rings familiar, yes, this was the same company that took on the job of selling 5000 commemorative plates produced to celebrate the birth of a royal princess last year.

Of course, those plates were deemed useless when the princess turned out to be a prince.

Wholesale Clearance spokesperson Andy White told the BBC that roughly one-quarter of the Obama mugs have already been sold to American customers and the rest are flying off the shelves.

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"They are a real novelty value," said White. "Once they're gone, they're gone."

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