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British erase polymer £5 notes

Polymer Note

Not the upside-down printed British fiver offered on eBay but a second discovery — also verified by the “Department of Upside-down Printed English Denominations.” (Original image courtesy Bank of England)

Britain has been finding considerable entertainment value in its new polymer £5. Not a week goes by without the mainstream media reporting some new exciting aspect of the fiver.

Recently, the British people have learned that the color printing on both sides of the note can be readily removed with an eraser. A little bit of arm action will erase almost all the ink leaving just the serial number and hologram.

The legal eagles have kindly pointed out that while it is unlawful to deface a bank note it is not illegal to destroy one.

And then there are the collectors. Regular reports of what’s on offer on eBay are leaving the general public more than a little bemused over the amazing sums being paid for certain serial prefixes. Naturally prefix AA01 leads the field.

There was the hotel manager who received 30 of the first AA01 batch from his local bank. He sold each for around £40 apiece on eBay — a net profit of over £1,000.

And prefix AK47 has been making a great showing. One of the first to appear on eBay was bid up to £80,100. That winning bid proved a hoax with eBay reported having declined to help the vendor collect the money.

Misprints have surfaced and exchanged hands for goodly sums. Which leads, inevitably, to the well-known British sense of humor.

In mid-October of last year, the Daily Mail reported a gentleman offering a £5 note on eBay that had been printed entirely upside down. The accompanying illustration appeared to show this to be the case with the “error verified” by the “Department of Upside-down Printed English Denominations” (DUPED).

The listing attracted 150,000 views. One viewer asked the vendor if the other side had been fully printed upside down as well.

Within three days, bids had reached £7,945. Eventually eBay removed the listing “due to security reasons” but then immediately relisted it. In less than 24 hours, some 68 bids had seen the price pushed to £65,551.

The vendor declared that when and if it sold, the money plus the original £5 would be devoted to charity.

Meanwhile, it would seem that the Brits are more than happy to have fistfuls of polymer and spend up large.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

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