On 14 September 2017, the Bank of England officially put into circulation the new £10 note that was unveiled in July. This follows the introduction last year of a replacement £5 note – meanwhile, an updated version of the £20 note is expected to become available in 2020.
What can I do with my old pound coins?
Why are these new notes being brought in?
One of the main reasons for the replacement of old-style cotton-fibre banknotes in the UK – and indeed many other countries around the world – is security. The new notes are harder for criminals to forge, so authorities expect to see a significant reduction in fraud as a result of these changes.
This is not the only benefit, however. The new polymer notes are more durable than those they are superseding, and this should be better for the environment as they will not need to be replaced as frequently. It is also easier to recycle them.
Finally, they are less prone to becoming dirty and, while not indestructible, they are significantly stronger – and should certainly withstand any accidental exposure to high-temperature washing machine cycles.
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What are the key differences?
Aside from the feel of the new notes, the £10 – like the new £5 – is a little smaller than the version it is replacing. And while the Queen is still featured on the front, the rear of the note will now depict the author Jane Austen.
The 2017 £10 has a number of security features which will make counterfeiting much more difficult. Each note has a transparent window which features another portrait of the Queen, while Winchester Cathedral is depicted in gold foil on the front of the notes and in silver foil on the reverse.
A picture of a writing quill changes from purple to orange depending on the angle of the light, while there is a hologram which displays the words “Ten” or “Pounds”, again depending on the angle at which the note is held.
Additionally, there is a hologram of the Queen’s coronation crown and a copper foil patch in the shape of a book; finally, tiny letters which are only legible under a microscope are included beneath the Queen’s main portrait.
The words “Bank of England” are in raised ink along the top to help blind and partially sighted people identify the notes.
Another change relates to some of the lettering on the note: after consultation with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the words “Bank of England” have been included in raised ink – a printing format known as intaglio – along the top. This is intended to help blind and partially sighted people identify the notes.
The Austen connection
Jane Austen was chosen by the Bank of England in 2013 to be the new face of the £10, replacing Charles Darwin. Prior to the decision, campaigners had complained that, following the Bank’s choice of Winston Churchill in place of the nineteenth-century social reformer Elizabeth Fry for the new £5, there would be no women featured on banknotes in England and Wales.
Fittingly, the new £10 was officially unveiled on July 18 this year in Winchester, where Austen had died exactly 200 years earlier. The choice of an Austen quotation from her best-known work, Pride & Prejudice, has caused some controversy, however. The £10 carries the line, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – which, while seemingly a fitting tribute to the author, is actually uttered by a character in the book who is merely trying to pass herself off as well-educated.
As is often the case when new currency is issued, there is the possibility that notes with certain serial numbers could become particularly sought after: last year, a new £5 with an especially early serial number was sold at a charity auction for more than £4,000.
This week, the notes with the very lowest numbers – starting at AA01 000001 – will be given to the Queen herself, Prince Philip and prime minister Theresa May. But it is possible that any notes beginning with AA01 could be worth more – perhaps much more – than £10 to collectors.
Any notes beginning with AA01 could be worth more.
The link with Jane Austen has raised speculation that serial numbers which are related to her dates of birth and death – respectively, December 16 1775 and July 18 1817 – could also have considerable extra value, so keep your eyes peeled for numbers such as 16121775 or 18071817.
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The new Scottish £10
While the Bank of England is responsible for issuing notes in England and Wales, Scottish banks are also introducing their own £10 notes this year. Both the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland are circulating new polymer designs this autumn.
The Bank of Scotland £10 will feature a portrait of novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott as well as the Mound in Edinburgh and the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line in Inverness-shire. Meanwhile, the £10 soon to be issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland – which has consulted members of the Scottish public on its design – depicts mathematician and astronomer Mary Somerville as well as a pair of otters. This continues the nature theme first used in RBS’s £5 in 2016.
Both Scottish £10 notes will have an array of security features such as the holograms, microtext and transparent windows that are also employed by their Bank of England counterparts.
In Northern Ireland, polymer notes have been in circulation since the start of the millennium.
What about old £10 notes?
If you have or are given any old cotton-fibre £10 notes in the coming months, you'll still be able to use them as usual until spring 2018 – although some payment machines such as at railway stations or in car parks, may stop accepting them at an earlier date. The Bank of England has said it will give three months’ notice before old tenners cease to be legal tender.
However, as with the old £5 note – which was officially retired back in May – you should still be able to exchange old notes at your bank, building society or local Post Office after the cut-off point.
You can find out more about the note on the Bank of England's new £10 note website.
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