Whether you love them or hate them, it’s fair to say that when the Bank of England issued the very first polymer banknotes, UK currency was revolutionised. As well as refreshing the designs of the notes, these polymer versions were considered a cleaner, safer, and stronger alternative.
In 2016 it was the £5 that received the first makeover, and Winston Churchill was selected to feature on the note. Jane Austen soon followed on the £10 note and JMW Turner was selected to feature on the £20 polymer note last year.
Now, the scarcest and largest banknote in circulation – the £50 banknote – has received the same polymer makeover treatment, and on 23rd June 2021 the brand new polymer banknote featuring Alan Turning was released.
But it’s not only the design that makes this note special. You see, the Bank of England have described their polymer notes as the most secure series of banknotes yet. So, I’m of course curious to see what special security features have been worked into the design of our newest banknote…
Britain’s most secure banknote
Before the revolutionary polymer £50 came along, The Bank of England estimated that there were over 350 million £50 paper banknotes in circulation in the UK in 2021 – the lowest number of all UK banknotes.
Last year, approximately 20,000 counterfeit £50 notes were seized by The Bank of England – the second highest number of counterfeits out of all UK banknote denominations. When you consider that, it’s understandable that the need to make the new £50 polymer banknote difficult to counterfeit was at the forefront of the designer’s mind!
Let’s take a look at some of the security features incorporated into the design:
- Transparent windows – the foil in the large see-through window is green and gold on the front, and silver on the back. Within the gold foil squares the image changes between ‘50’ and a ‘£’ symbol when tilted. Plus, there’s a second, smaller window in the bottom corner.
- Changing holograms – the hologram beneath the large clear pane will alternate between reading ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’ depending on what way you tilt the note.
- The Queen’s portrait in the transparent window – the Queen’s portrait is printed on the window with ‘£50 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.
- Foil patches – a silver foil patch contains a 3D image of the coronation crown. There is a second red foil patch which contains the letters ‘AT’.
- Ultra-violet technology – under UV light, the number ’50’ appears in bright red and green on the front of the note, against a duller background.
- Raised dots – you’ll find four clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner. This tactile feature helps blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note.
Alan Turing design
In 2018 the Banknote Character Advisory Committee chose to celebrate the field of science on the £50 note. Following this, nominations were accepted by the public over six weeks, accumulating over 225,000 nominations and 989 individual characters for consideration. 12 names were shortlisted, and Alan Turing was finally selected by the Governor of the Bank of England.
The note itself features a portrait of Turing based on a photo taken in 1951 by Elliot & Fry which is part of the Photographs Collection at the National Portrait Gallery. The artwork on the reverse of the note celebrates Turing’s pioneering mathematics and work with computers.
Most notably the design features technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing and one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages during WWII.
Stationed at Bletchley Park, he played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic. It’s estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over 14 million lives.
What do you think about the new £50 Polymer note? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re interested…
If you’re looking for a way to own this significant, revolutionary piece of British currency, then look no further than the UK 2021 £50 Polymer Banknote DateStamp™ issue. Each DateStamp™ issue has been postmarked by Royal Mail with the note’s first day of release – 23rd June 2021 – forever ensuring its provenance.
First issues are always valued by collectors and by owning the DateStamp™ issue you will be one of just 995 collectors able to forever mark the date the new £50 polymer banknote entered circulation. We have a limited number available, so click here to find out more >>
It’s the most anticipated UK 50p release of the year!
The Royal Mint has just released the official UK Team GB 50p to celebrate our Olympians and mark the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being held in 2021.
It’s safe to say that this coin has been struck under exceptional circumstances and it has a remarkable story that means there will be unparalleled demand for it…
The most anticipated UK 50p release of the year
You see, this coin was never meant to exist. It was originally slated for release in 2020 but, as you know, the Olympic Games were rescheduled to 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time that the games have been rescheduled rather than cancelled.
As a result, this NEW coin is dual dated – only one of a handful of dual dated 50ps to exist in British numismatic history!
Featuring the same design by David Knapton that was released in the 2020 Annual Sets, the reverse bears the date “2020” to mark the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the obverse by Jody Clark features the year of issue, 2021.
Last year there was phenomenal demand for the 2020 Annual Sets that featured the 2020-dated Team GB 50p, as collectors rushed to secure it after the Olympics were officially postponed. There is no doubt that these collectors WILL want to own the 2021-dated coin.
This UK 50p has been issued in several different specifications, so there’s something to suit all collectors. Take a look at the range below…
UK 2021 Team GB 50p BU Pack
To give as many collectors as possible the chance to own this highly sought-after coin, The Royal Mint has issued it in Brilliant Uncirculated quality. Brilliant uncirculated coins are specially struck and carefully handled to avoid the scratches and chips found amongst their circulating counterparts.
Each one is protectively encapsulated in a stylish presentation pack from The Royal Mint to preserve its quality for years to come. What’s more, you can secure this BU Pack at The Royal Mint’s official issue price of just £10 (+p&p). Click here to find out more >>
UK 2021 Team GB Silver Proof 50p
You can own the Team GB 50p in superior silver proof quality – but this opportunity is strictly limited to JUST 5,500 collectors worldwide.
This coin features the same special dual dated design, but it has been struck in superior .925 sterling silver to a flawless proof finish and features selective colour printing to bring the Olympic rings to life.
Silver 50ps are consistently highly sought-after and have rapid sell-out rates as a result. Available for The Royal Mint’s official issue price of £67.50 (+p&p), you’ll have to be quick to secure it. Click here to find out more >>
UK 2021 Team GB Silver Piedfort 50p
However, you can own this coin in an even more limited way – so limited that JUST 1,500 collectors worldwide will ever be able to own it.
Piedfort coins are prestige pieces and the pinnacle of The Royal Mint’s craftsmanship. These coins are amongst the most collectible coins around. They’re struck to a perfect proof finish, twice the weight and thickness of a regular coin, and contain double the amount of .925 silver. Plus, their incredibly low mintages result in rapid sell-outs.
This is also the first time that selective colour printing has been used on a UK Piedfort 50p coin, so it will be even more sought-after by knowledgeable collectors in years to come. You can secure yours today with a deposit of JUST £25 (+p&p) followed by four further interest-free instalments. Click here to find out more >>
Today The Royal Mint announced that they will be paying tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Philip, after his passing on 9th April 2021.
Prince Philip committed himself to a life of royal duty, and in doing so earned the affection of generations here in the UK, the Commonwealth, and across the world.
This new commemorative to celebrate his extraordinary life and legacy will undoubtedly be the perfect way for collectors to forever remember him.
If you want to be kept up-to-date on the release of this new commemorative, simply sign-up below.