“We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in the air, and we shall never surrender.” Stirring words indeed, uttered by Sir Winston Churchill at the height of World War II. Iconic words that stirred a nation and inspired their men and women of service to dig deep and win the war for their country. So as his face has adorned special commemorative coins over the years, it seems once again fitting that The Bank of England cover their new £5 note with the face of a man that was affectionately known as, ‘The British Bulldog’.
On March 10 the Bank of England’s chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, announced that the bank’s new £5 note is on track for release later this year. The new design will be unveiled on June 2, with the note itself entering circulation in September. This is the note slated to feature Winston Churchill.
The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years. During that time, both the notes themselves and their role in society have undergone continual change. From today’s perspective, it is commonly accepted that a note that costs a few pence to produce is worth five, ten, twenty or fifty pounds.
Maintaining confidence in the currency is a key role of the Bank of England and one which is essential to the proper functioning of the economy.
In her speech at the Retail Business Technology Expo in London, Cleland observed, “The new fiver will bring a step change in counterfeit resilience and quality. We have been working extensively with the cash industry to ensure a smooth transition to polymer.
“Now is the time for retailers and businesses to prepare. Alongside the launch, we will release new free of charge training materials to help businesses train their staff, and run an extensive public awareness campaign to enable everyone to prepare for the new fiver entering circulation in September. This is an exciting time for banknotes and we are grateful to the cash industry for helping us introduce polymer banknotes.”
So why the move to polymer banknotes?
Polymer banknotes are manufactured from a transparent plastic film, specially coated with an ink layer that enables it to carry the printed design features of banknotes. The material allows the inclusion of ‘windows’ or clear portions in the design which enhance protection against counterfeits.
Polymer banknotes are also, resistant to dirt and moisture so stay cleaner for longer than paper banknotes, more secure so will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience and also more durable so will increase the quality of banknotes in circulation. Polymer banknotes are also more environmentally friendly than paper.
The decision follows a three-year research programme by the Bank looking at the materials on which banknotes are printed, and which concluded that there were compelling reasons to move to printing on polymer.
The Bank hosted events across the United Kingdom to give the public the opportunity to learn more about polymer banknotes, to handle the notes, and to provide feedback. Nearly 13,000 individuals gave feedback during the public consultation programme. 87% of those who responded were in favour of polymer, only 6% were opposed and 7% were neutral.
The new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen will be released next year later with a new polymer £20 note introduced in 2020.
Speaking of things to take note of, have you heard that the new Hallmark Coins website is now live? Go check it out right now and be sure to bag a bargain or two.