18 July 2017

Pence & Sensibility: The new Jane Austen £10 note is here

The Bank of England are unveiling the new note at an event in Winchester Cathedral, where Austen was buried 200 years ago.

The design features a portrait of Austen commissioned by her nephew, James Edward, in 1870, and a quote: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading," by Miss Bingley, a character in Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813. An alternative quote could have come from Austen's later novel Mansfield Park: “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of."

When will it be available?

The note will be issued on 14th September 2017, but production began in August 2016, so millions of new notes have been printed and will be circulated on the day of issue.

Why do we need a new £10 note?

After the introduction of the the first polymer bank note last September – the Churchill £5 note – this is part of the Bank of England's campaign to make UK bank notes more secure, durable, cleaner and longer lasting than paper versions.

When will old paper £10 notes stop being accepted?

Old paper notes will start to be withdrawn from circulation as the new polymer ones are introduced. The Bank of England hasn't given a specific date but old £5 paper notes were no longer accepted in May 2017, eight months after the new £5 note was introduced, so a similar time frame is likely.

What are they made of?

The new notes are made of polymer, a transparent plastic film which is stronger, attracts less dirt and, will last longer and survive going through a washing machine cycle. They use small amounts of tallow, a hard substance made from rendered animal fats.

The Bank says the materials used will provide improved resilience against counterfeiting and increase the quality of banknotes in circulation.

What does the public think?

It proved controversial with vegetarians and vegans. Over 130,000 people signed a Change.org petition asking the Bank to stop using animal products in the production of bank notes.

The Bank said it decided to stick with polymer because it didn't want to risk cutting the effectiveness of the anti-fraud benefits it provides. But it will test plant-based alternatives to use in future polymer notes.

The notes are 15% smaller, don't crumple as easily and last longer. You can't iron them if they get wet, but the polymer is more resistant to water anyway.

Collecting rare or early serial numbers has proved popular with the new £5 notes, with serial numbers starting with 'AK47' on sale for up to £5,000 on eBay, and notes with an 'AA' prefix going for £20. The Queen was given the bank note 'AA01 000001'. It's likely the new £10 note will see similar enthusiasm among collectors.

What happens to old banknotes?

All Bank of England notes retain their face value for all time. If your bank, building society or Post Office won't swap them they can be exchanged with the Bank of England in London by post or in person.

You'll be able to deposit the old £10 notes into your Nationwide account at your nearest branch

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