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This is the first look at the new “tactile” Jane Austen £10 note, designed to help visually-impaired people.
The “plastic” note, unveiled today by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, features raised dots in the top left-hand corner and was developed with the help of sight-loss charity RNIB.
It was being presented to the public at Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried, on the 200th anniversary of the Pride And Prejudice author’s death.
The polymer £10 note — which is smaller than the current one — will not go into circulation for a number of weeks. It is larger than the new £5 and made from the same materials, meaning it will have traces of animal fat.
It also contains a number of security devices, including a see-through window with the Queen’s portrait, a quill at the side of the window which changes from purple to orange, and a hologram which contains the word ‘Ten’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
There is also “micro-lettering” beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are only visible under a microscope.
Banknote equipment manufacturers have already started work on adapting machines to take the new £10, and new ATM parts are being ordered.
The decision to feature the author on the note was confirmed by Mr Carney in 2013. He said: “Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes.
“Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature.
“As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and in future, Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields.”
Apart from the Queen, there are currently no women on English banknotes. This caused controversy when Sir Winston Churchill was announced as the featured figure on the new £5 note.
A recent study by Swedish finance firm Advisa found that only 52 women feature on the world’s banknotes, compared with 398 men.
Production of the new £10 note began last August and the Bank has already printed more than 275 million. A new plastic £20 note is to be released in 2020, but there are currently no plans for a plastic £50.
Collectors are expected to scramble to pick up low serial-numbered notes which could be worth hundreds when they are finally released, similar to what happened with the new £5.
London News & Search