As most of you are aware I am currently in England and have another week to look forward to here. The last time I was in England was last November and the new polymer £5 note had only recently been issued. I remember being in a pub and receiving change for my pint, and feeling overwhelmingly disappointing when I got an old fiver and not the beautiful new plastic one from the cashier. There has been a lot of interest about the new banknotes England has released and now I’m back in the country it’s been fun for me to see these great notes fully in circulation. Subsequently, I have two short stories I want to share about these notes.
- I went out with my cousin one night to have some drinks and spend some time together. When I handed over my old £20 to pay for the two pints I was delighted when I got back an almost UNC new £5 note. It’s aUNC+ and since I got it from a sticky bartenders hands it was shocking to me the quality of the note. Even better was that it has an AD prefix. I quickly open up my handbag and lay the banknote flat in a small zipper section instead of folding it up and shoving it into my wallet, this note was too nice to fold. As the night progressed and the notes from my wallet ended up in bar tills spread through old town I was left with one banknote protected in my purse. When I went to pay for my cab back at the end of the night I was horrified that I had no more notes to give the driver. However, there was no way I was giving him my pretty aUNC £5 note. I sheepishly dumped out my coin purse and paid for the £8 cab fare in coins. The poor driver was less than enthusiastic about the heavy payment I handed him, but I smiled happily knowing I still had the nice fiver in my purse. I think about it now, and know my father will put the note up on the website for purchase, and honestly I don’t mind – because this story just goes to show that I am, without a doubt, my fathers daughter. All in the name to protect a pretty note!
- My second story starts when I walk into Costa to grab a coffee and see this sign above. The old £5 had been officially taken out of circulation (except you can exchange them at banks – just not accepted other places now). I didn’t think much of it at first, until my aunt told me at dinner she’d been refused service at a shop that day because she wanted to pay with the old fiver. She told the manager she had until midnight to use the notes, but he simply said, “well I’ve been to the bank already today so we’re not accepting them anymore.” She then mentioned to me would I like any to take back for our customers who can’t get these notes anymore. I sifted through what she had picking out grades VF and higher (I had to educate her on banknote grading, though I’m pretty sure she thought I was making it up!) so I will be happily returning with some nice retired £5 notes as well.
It’s been interesting watching the currency as it’s changed here in England – in fact they released a new £1 coin and having issues with the new design not fitting in the old coin slots. Whoops! When you go into a store you have to put a pound coin in to release a cart (once you return it to the store you then get your coin back) However the new coins do not fit the cart slot!! Supermarkets in England are now having to unlock all their carts for customers! Some people are taking full advantage of these “rent-free” carts and now leaving them strung around the parking lot (not nice).
There also is a buzz here about the new £10 note that will be circulated in September. They are having a release party for the note in July and hopefully we can pick some of these up asap. (Apparently they have printed more than 275 million of this note!) The new tenner will have Jane Austin on the note as well as a quote from Pride and Prejudice “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”
As another side note apparently the three issuing Scottish banks are also printing their next £10 notes on polymer – they will be released between September and October next year. If they’re anything like the £5 notes from last year, they will be beautiful (2018 banknote of the year nominees? who knows!!)