The first ever British banknote to contain a portrait of a female – apart from the Queen – went into circulation on Thursday, the Bank of England announced. The new tamper-proof £10 note features the famous English novelist Jane Austen.
Just over one billion polymer ten-pound notes have been printed ready for issue, and will begin to be seen in the following days and weeks as the notes leave cash centres around the country and enter general circulation, the bank said.
It is also the first British banknote with a tactile feature to support blind and partially sighted users. A series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner helps blind and partially sighted users to identify the denomination of the note.
The first of the new notes has been given to Queen Elizabeth, with her husband Prince Philip and the heir to the British throne receiving the second and third notes produced.
The new Jane Austen ten pound note joins the Winston Churchill five pound note in the first series of polymer Bank of England banknotes. A new 20 pound note featuring J.M.W Turner will follow in 2020.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said: “The new 10 pound 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.”
The new note contains sophisticated security features which make it very difficult to counterfeit. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper notes – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
The old ten pound notes will remain as legal tender until spring of 2018.