New ten pound note: Jane Austen note released into UK circulation by Bank of England

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More than one million of the new plastic £10 banknotes celebrating author Jane Austen have entered circulation. 

The new tenner is the first Bank of England note with a tactile feature to help blind and partially-sighted users.

The tactile feature is a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner of the banknote, developed with the help of the Royal National Institute of the Blind.

Like the £5 note already in circulation featuring Sir Winston Churchill, the new £10 – featuring Pride And Prejudice author Austen – is made from polymer.

Note: English novelist Jane Austen is featured on the £10 banknote (Getty Images)

They are expected to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current paper £10 notes, around five years in total, and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.

People can continue to spend the existing paper £10 notes for now, but they will be phased out gradually and will eventually be withdrawn in spring 2018.

Banknote: Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney (PA)

A new £20 note featuring artist JMW Turner will follow in 2020.

The transition to polymer has sparked controversy after the Bank confirmed that an “extremely small amount” of tallow, or animal fat, was used to produce polymer pellets, which were part of the production process for creating the notes.

Coin: The Royal Mint unveiled a new Jane Austen £2 coin (Royal Mint)

In August, following a public consultation, the Bank said that after “careful and serious consideration”, there would be no change to the composition of polymer used for future banknotes.

Facts and figures about the new tenner:

There are 3.7 billion Bank of England banknotes in circulation, of which around 801 million are tenners.

The new £10 note is the first Bank of England anknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users – a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner.

According to the Bank, the first tenner was issued in 1759, printed only on one side and in black and white.

Florence Nightingale was the first character to be portrayed on the back of a £10 Bank of England note, in 1975.

Security features on the new banknote include a see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait, a quill which changes from purple to orange and a hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted.

The new note features a portrait of Jane Austen. Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried, also features on the new note. It is shown in gold foil on the front and silver on the back

The selection of Austen removed the possibility of a long-term absence of women on Bank of England notes, apart from the Queen, after it was announced that Sir Winston Churchill would replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note. The prospect of a lack of female faces on banknotes caused an outcry.

It said the only viable alternative was palm oil, but this raised questions about environmental sustainability and value for money.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “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.

“The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner.

“The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation’s money is as inclusive as possible.”

2017 has marked 200 years since Austen’s death.

Born on December 16 1775, Austen was one of eight siblings and became known for her novels including Sense And Sensibility, Pride And Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma.

While her work gave her little personal fame during her lifetime, Austen’s novels started appearing on university reading lists around the start of the 20th century, with many films later exploring the themes of her writing.

Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, said: “It is wonderful to see the inspirational author Jane Austen celebrated on the new £10, and even more poignant being launched during the 200th anniversary of her death. I am grateful to the cash industry for their support in bringing the cleaner, safer, stronger notes to the public.”

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