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British £5 polymer bank note released

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Britain’s new £5 note, first issued Tuesday Sept. 13. Images courtesy & © Bank of England.

Britain’s new £5 note, first issued Tuesday Sept. 13. Images courtesy & © Bank of England.

By Kerry Rodgers

After many months of media lead up and public education the Bank of England released its new polymer £5 note on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Winston Churchill, the man who declined Queen Elizabeth’s offer to become Duke of London, now features on the back of a circulating British bank note.

The bank’s public education program has been massive, particularly since the fiver’s official launch on June 2. An entire website is devoted to the new note: The information posted there, including the video, is well worth a browse.

And for collectors of paper money ephemera, the BoE has a wealth of free-of-charge materials concerning the new fiver and its other notes. Check out the Bank’s web page “Educational Material - Know Your Banknotes.” These items are available in both English and Cymraeg (Welsh).

The former paper £5 notes cease to be legal tender in May 2017. After that month paper £5 notes can still be exchanged at the BoE.

The three Scottish banks are also printing polymer £5 and £10 notes. Clydesdale Bank will issue its polymer £5 on Sept. 27, the Bank of Scotland on Oct. 4, and RBS on Oct. 27.

And when it comes to Churchill, BoE Governor, Mark Carney, has the final word: “Winston Churchill was one of the greatest statesmen of all time and is the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for literature. As he himself said, a ‘nation that forgets its past has no future.’ Our banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory and are testaments to the outstanding achievements of the nation’s greatest individuals.”

“Like Churchill, the new polymer note will also stand the test of time. It is cleaner, being more resistant to dirt and moisture. It is safer, with better security features. And it is stronger, making it longer lasting and more environmentally friendly.”

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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