New polymer tenner enters circulation

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, September 14, 2017

The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered into circulation today (14 September).

Just over one billion of the new notes have been printed ready for issue. The note features Jane Austen and joins the Churchill £5, which went into circulation last year, in the first series of polymer Bank of England (BOE) banknotes. A new £20 note featuring JMW Turner will follow in 2020.

The new £10 notes are printed by De La Rue on polymer material from CCL Secure (formerly Innovia Security) at the De La Rue-managed banknote printing site at Debden, which is owned by the BoE.

In 2015, the BoE announced that the next £20 note would also be printed on polymer. It is currently running a competitive tender for the supply of this polymer and said it expects to announce the outcome later this year.

In August, the BOE confirmed that it will not be reformulating the polymer used for the new banknotes, despite protests about the use of trace amounts of animal derivative.

Governor of the BoE Mark Carney said: “The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published. The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner.”

The new £10 note contains sophisticated security features that make it very difficult to counterfeit, the BoE said. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 notes – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.

Specific security features include a see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait, Winchester Cathedral shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back, a quill at the side of the window, which changes from purple to orange, and a hologram that contains the word ‘Ten’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.

The note also features a hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted, a book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letter JA, micro-lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are visible under a microscope, and the words ‘Bank of England’ printed in raised ink along the top of the note.

The note is also the first UK banknote with a tactile feature to support blind and partially sighted users, using a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner to make it easier to identify the note’s denomination.

This feature is in addition to the elements already incorporated in BoE banknotes for vision impaired users; the tiered sizing, bold numerals, raised print and differing colour palettes.

Paper £10 notes featuring Charles Darwin will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses. They can continue to be spent as usual until legal tender status is withdrawn in spring 2018, with the exact withdrawal date announced at least three months in advance.

There are currently 3.7bn Bank of England banknotes in circulation, of which 801m are £10s.

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