The Bank of England’s new polymer £10 featuring renowned novelist Jane Austen - enters circulation today, September 14. It is the first banknote with a tactile feature to support blind and partially-sighted people.
The bank has released over one billion new tenners and they will begin to be gradually available from cash machines and bank counters across the UK from today. Here’s what you need to know:
What’s different about the new £10
The new £10 note is printed on polymer — a thin and flexible plastic material. It joins the Churchill £5 in the first family of polymer Bank of England notes. As it’s made of polymer it’s cleaner, stronger and safer. It’s 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 used. It’s around 15% smaller than the paper £10 note making it easier to pop in our purses. It also comes with a raft of new security features
What are the new security features on the new £10?
The new £10 contains sophisticated security features which make it difficult to counterfeit, including:
- 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
- A hologram which contains the word ‘Ten’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted
- 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
- The words ‘Bank of England’ printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note.
The new design
A portrait of Jane Austen can be found on the back of the note. This was commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) in 1870, adapted from an original sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra Austen in 1810.
Next to the portrait is an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, a character from Pride and Prejudice. The quote ‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!’ was said by Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice. Beneath this image is Godmersham Park House, the estate owned by Jane Austen’s brother.
The foil image over the window is Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen was buried in 1817, aged just 41. 2017, the year the note is launched, marks the 200th anniversary of her death.
How will it be more accessible for people who are blind and partially-sighted?
On the front of the £10 polymer note (the side with raised print), there are two clusters of raised dots in the top left-hand corner. This tactile feature helps blind and partially-sighted people identify the value of the note.
The polymer £20 - featuring artist J.M.W Turner due to be launched in 2020 - will also have a tactile feature, but with a different pattern. The polymer £5 will be identifiable as the only polymer note without a tactile feature.
Can I still use the paper £10 note?
You can continue to use the paper £10 note, featuring Charles Darwin, until it is withdrawn from circulation in Spring 2018
Further details on the new £10 note.