LONDON — The new £10 note officially came into circulation in the United Kingdom on Thursday, replacing the old note, and marking the second use of polymer in British banknotes after the release of the new £5 note last year.
The note was first unveiled by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney at a ceremony at Winchester Cathedral in July, but it is now officially available for British citizens to use.
It features an image of the famous author Jane Austen, alongside a quote from her most famous work, Pride and Prejudice. The quote reads: “I declare after all that there is no enjoyment like reading!”
That quote caused some controversy when announced, as in its original context, the character who utters the words, Caroline Bingley, is being more than a little disingenuous. Bingley has no real interest in literature and instead pretends to be an avid reader to attract the attentions of the book’s heartthrob, Mr Darcy.
Polymer, manufactured by CCL Secure, is already in use in the new £5, but marks a departure from over 320 years of the use of cotton.
The notes are more durable, and are waterproof and harder to tear. The plastic £10 notes are also more difficult to counterfeit than paper ones, with numerous unique security features including multi-coloured holograms, a clear window, and UV ink.
For the first time in British currency, the notes also feature a braille-like bumps, designed to allow those with visual impairments to distinguish the notes from others.
“With the tactile feature, that’s given an extra element of accessibility. First of all we were trying to understand, is it possible to have a feature that is easy to recognise, and will last well,” the bank’s chief cashier Victoria Cleland told Business Insider prior to the note’s release.
“The move to polymer has given us the ability to have a tactile feature that will last a lot longer.”
Like the £5 before it, the new £10 is around 15% smaller than the paper note, something that Cleland told BI has numerous advantages.
“In terms of the environment and production costs, smaller notes help, and you can fit more in cages and they’re easier to store,” she said.
“Technology has developed so much that we can get a lot more onto the smaller note [in terms of security and accessibility features.”
Here’s how the two notes look side-by-side: