Following on from the launch of the “plastic fiver” a year ago now, this week will see the introduction of a new £10 note made from polymer rather than paper. Again the new note will have additional security features including a clear panel with the Queens image and a foil embossing in silver and gold to the front and back. The note includes two holograms that change as the note is tilted, along with some security micro lettering and raised inking used for “Bank of England” on the front of the new note.
There is also, thoughtfully, a series of tactile raised dots to help blind and visually impaired people differentiate between the two newer notes, and a booked shaped copper metallic panel with the initials JA for Jane Austen, the notes subject included on the reverse.
Following on from Elizabeth Fry, who featured on the last old style five pound note withdrawn in 2016, Jane Austen ensures a continued female presence (other than the Queen) on English bank notes that had until 2002 been an exclusively male preserve.
The rear of the bank note has caused some discussion amongst Jane Austen fans, my wife included, over the choice of quotation included alongside the visual representations. The image of Jane Austen is acknowledged as the best in existence despite being produced after her death and there is a view of her brother’s house where she spent much of her life along with a sketch of Jane at her writing desk later in life at her Hampshire cottage.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment but reading” is included on the ten pound note, quoting from perhaps her most recognised work Pride and Prejudice. The flurry of comments was over the choice to use this quote from one of the novels less popular characters rather than Elisabeth Bennet or the (apparently) hugely attractive Mr Darcy! So the quote from Caroline Bingley, perhaps the shallowest character in the whole novel makes it onto the new note….possibly a nod to the irony Jane Austen so favoured and often included in much of her writing.
It is estimated that in her lifetime Jane Austen earnt less than £700 from her writings, just compare that to the £200million estimated cost of converting the UK’s cash machines and note readers to accept her image two hundred years later!
Written by: Colin from KSV.