The new plastic £10 note has been unveiled by Bank of England governor Mark Carney at Winchester Cathedral. The note, which follows the polymer £5, will be issued on 14 September and has a portrait of Jane Austen on the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. It is also the first Bank of England note to include a tactile feature to help visually impaired people. Meanwhile, a limited supply of a new £2 coin honouring Jane Austen has been put into circulation by the Royal Mint. The coin will initially only be available in tills at key locations in the Winchester and Basingstoke areas that have connections with Austen, including Winchester Cathedral and the Jane Austen House Museum. It will be circulated more widely across the UK later this year.
The £10 note will be made of the same material as the £5 note, which means it also contains some traces of animal fat – an issue which caused concern for vegans and some religious groups when it was launched last September. A petition to ban the note attracted more than 100,000 signatures but the new £10 will again contain some tallow, which is derived from meat products.
The Jane Austen quote on the note from Pride and Prejudice has also attracted some unfavourable comment. The quotation: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” is uttered by a character called Caroline Bingley who in fact has no interest in books and is merely trying to impress Mr Darcy, a potential suitor. But Mr Carney defended the choice. “It captures much of her [Jane Austen's] spirit, at least in my mind,” he said. “It draws out some of the essence of some of her social satire and her insight into people’s character. So it works on multiple levels.” A new polymer £20 featuring artist JMW Turner is due to be issued by 2020, but there are no plans to replace the current £50 note, which was released in 2011.
The Bank of England says the new £10 notes contain sophisticated security features and are expected to last five years, which is two-and-a-half times longer than the current note.
Security features of new £10 note: 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 letters 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 tactile feature was developed in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and is a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner of each note. Bank notes are already in tiered sizes, and have bold numerals, raised print and differing colours to help blind and partially sighted people. Launching the note in Winchester Cathedral, Austen’s final resting place, Mr Carney paid tribute to the author, saying: “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.”
Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, said: “The new £10 note marks the next exciting step in our introduction of cleaner, safer, stronger polymer banknotes, and I am grateful to the cash industry for their work towards a smooth transition.” The design of the note includes the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice and a portrait of the novelist based on an original sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra.
Meanwhile, the Austen £2 coin, designed by Royal Mint graphic designer Dominique Evans, features Austen’s silhouette, set in a period frame against a backdrop of Regency wallpaper. Ms Evans said: “I imagined Jane Austen’s framed silhouette as if it were in one of the houses featured in her books, on the wall of a corridor as guests passed by to attend a dance, perhaps in Pride and Prejudice, or on the wall in the home of Emma.” Austen had her first novel Sense and Sensibility published anonymously in 1811 at the age of 35.
The Bank of Scotland unveiled the design of its new plastic £10 note at the end of May. Featuring Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott alongside The Mound in Edinburgh on the front and the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the back, it also has a picture of a steam locomotive hauling a heritage tourist train. The note is due to come into circulation in the autumn.