On July 18, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney unveiled the design of the bank’s new £10 note that features the world-renowned author.
Speaking at Winchester Cathedral, the resting place of Jane Austen, the governor said: “Our bank notes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens … Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.”
He added: “£10 would have meant a lot to Jane Austen – about the same as £1,000 would mean to us today. £10 was half the annual allowance she received from her father while he was alive. A £10 note may also have had a symbolic meaning to her, as it was the amount she was paid by publishers Crosby and Co. for her first novel, Susan.”
As with the Winston Churchill £5 released on June 3 last year, the new note is printed on polymer but is the first BoE bank note to possess a tactile feature to aid blind and partially sighted users. This feature consists of a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner and has been developed in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People. This is in addition to elements already incorporated in BoE notes to assist the vision impaired: tiered sizing, bold numerals, raised print and differing color palettes.
As with all notes printed on polymer, the new £10 note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than current rag paper £10 — around five years in total — and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
The £10 note contains sophisticated security features that make it very difficult to counterfeit. These 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 that changes from purple to orange;
• A hologram that contains the word “Ten” and changes to “Pounds” when the note is tilted;
• A hologram of the coronation crown that appears 3D and multi-colored when the note is tilted;
• A book-shaped copper foil patch that 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.
Features of the note’s design directly relevant to Jane Austen and her works are:
• The quote, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI);
• Portrait of Jane Austen engraved by William Home Lizars, commissioned by her family and based upon an original sketch drawn by sister Cassandra Austen;
• An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking, “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her” from drawing by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988);
• An image of Godmersham Park, the home of Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother, visited often by Jane, and regarded as the inspiration for a number of her novels;
• Jane Austen’s 12-sided writing table she used at Chawton Cottage.
The new £10 note will be issued on Sept. 14, 2017. The public can continue to spend the paper £10 notes as usual. These will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and the public. The legal-tender status of the paper £10 featuring Charles Darwin will be withdrawn in spring 2018 with the exact date being announced three months in advance. The new £20 note featuring J.M.W. Turner will follow in 2020.
Those wanting to know more about the new tenner can check out www.thenewten.co.uk.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.
More Collecting Resources
• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.
• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.