With the new £10 polymer note entering circulation on 14 September 2017  all members are reminded to train their staff so they are able to recognise and authenticate them.

The new note is smaller than the current one – at 132mm x 69mm in size – but larger than the new fiver.

Classic British author Jane Austen is featured on the new polymer note, as confirmed by Bank of England governor Mark Carney back in 2013. The current paper note features Charles Darwin and is 142mm x 75mm in size.

There are currently no women on the back of English banknotes, something that caused controversy when Winston Churchill was announced as the featured figure on the new polymer £5.

“Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes,” the Bank of England governor said. “Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature.”

What to look out for

Features of the design to look out for on the reverse of the Jane Austen note include:

  • The quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI).
  • A portrait of Jane Austen commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) in 1870, adapted from an original sketch of Jane Austen drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen.
  • An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking ‘The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her’ – from a drawing by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988).
  • The image of Godmersham Park, the home of Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother. Jane Austen visited the house often and it is believed that it was the inspiration for a number of her novels.
  • Jane Austen’s writing table – the central design in the background is inspired by the 12 sided writing table and writing quills used by Jane Austen at Chawton Cottage.

More help and advice

  • To help train your staff, there is a range of materials on note issues and withdrawals at: www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes
  • The three Scottish issuing banks are also printing their next £10 notes on polymer – they will be released between September and October next year.
  • After this, a new plastic £20 note – featuring the British painter JMW Turner – will be released in 2020. There are currently no plans to issue a plastic £50.

Quick checklist

  • Contact the manufacturer or supplier of your machines to discuss what adaptations will be required for the issuance of the new £10 note, and when they will be available.
  • For most machines a software update will be needed.
  • Aim to implement adaptations to your machines before the new £10 note is issued.
  • Remember! On May 5 paper notes were withdrawn from circulation. This means the only fivers that are now legal tender are the polymer notes featuring Sir Winston Churchill.
  • After May 5 2017 you are no longer obliged to accept paper £5 notes, although you may decide to continue to accept them for a short period of time after withdrawal.
  • However, you should not continue to dispense paper £5 notes after May 5 2017.


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