This week see’s the launch by the Bank of England of our first plastic bank note. It is estimated that the new £5 note made from polymer rather than paper will last two to three times as long as the notes it is replacing, with the old fivers on average surviving just a year in general circulation.
Featuring perhaps our greatest ever Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, the new notes are not only far more durable but incorporate a number of sophisticated anti-counterfeiting features. The Bank of England claims the new notes are just as foldable and “countable” as traditional paper money. From personal experience on a recent trip to New Zealand I had been handling and spending their notes for two weeks before it came up in conversation they were “plastic” rather than paper, I simply didn’t notice!
With new polymer £10 and £20 notes due to be issued in the next couple of years it seems the £50 note, which on average survives five years of circulation will be the last of hundreds of years of paper money issue in this Country.
The Bank of England has a good website detailing this change: New Five Pound Note