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Posts Tagged ‘banknote’

The fascinating history of the ‘Ten Bob’ banknote…

The 10 Shilling Note, or ‘ten bob’, was a goodly sum in the old days – in the 1960’s it could buy 6 pints of beer, 10 loaves of bread, or 17 pints of milk.

It’s hard to imagine its decimal equivalent, the 50p, buying so much these days!

This old banknote has a fascinating history, from being issued by the Government in a wartime emergency, changing colour to avoid forgery from the Nazis and eventually being replaced by the world’s most popular coin.

The Emergency Banknote

In August 1914, the British economy was in turmoil because of the instability brought on by the oncoming war on the continent. Bankers and politicians were desperately looking for ways to secure Britain’s finances and prevent the banks from collapsing.

10 shillings 1st Series 1914 2006046a 3 - The fascinating history of the ‘Ten Bob’ banknote…
1914 10 Shilling Banknote

The Government decided that a large supply of banknotes had to be made available for the value of 10 shillings, making it easy for the public to make small transactions. However, The Bank of England was not able to prepare and print the required number of notes quickly enough, so the Government took the unprecedented step of deciding to issue the notes itself.

These banknotes became known as the Treasury banknotes and were unlike anything the British public had ever seen. Until this point the lowest denomination banknote was £5, and in those days this was such a large sum that many people would never have seen or used a banknote before.

That means that these Treasury notes now stand out as the first widely circulated banknotes in England.

The Wartime colour change

In 1928, the responsibility for printing Ten Shilling Notes was transferred to the Bank of England.

However, not long afterwards Britain once again found itself at war, and again found its currency under threat.

During World War II, Nazi Germany hatched a plan to undermine British currency. Through Operation Bernhard they believed that they had discovered a method to manufacture counterfeit ‘White Fivers’ and planned to distribute these in huge numbers to destabilise the British currency.

10 shillings emergency wartime issue 19790321 1 - The fascinating history of the ‘Ten Bob’ banknote…
Second World War 10 Shilling Banknote

The Bank of England decided to take preventative action and, as a result, the 10 Shilling note was changed for duration of the war to a distinctive pink and blue in an attempt to prevent counterfeiting. It was also revolutionary in the progression of banknote technology by incorporating a metal security thread.

The Nazis could not compete with this high level anti-forgery technology and hence the British 10 Shilling Note stayed strong and supported the British wartime economy as it had done since its conception.

The 50p revolution

After undergoing a colour change during the Second World War, the ‘ten bob’ note reverted to the familiar red-brown until 1961, when a new design featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced.

Despite a new design for the 10 Shilling Note featuring Sir Walter Raleigh on the reverse being approved in 1964, as part of the process of decimalisation it was dropped in favour of the new fifty pence coin introduced in 1969.

50th Anniversary of the 50p Coin Pair 1969 - The fascinating history of the ‘Ten Bob’ banknote…
1969 ‘New Pence’ 50p coin

The principle reason for the change was to save the treasury money, the notes had an average lifetime of around five months, whereas a coin could last for fifty years. The 50p has since gone on to become the world’s most popular and collected coin, but nowadays few realise the fascinating history of its predecessor, the 10 Shilling Banknote!


AT DateStamp 10 Shilling Pack Front 002 300x208 - The fascinating history of the ‘Ten Bob’ banknote…

If you’re interested…

It’s now been 50 years since the last 10 Shilling Banknote was issued – which is why you now have the chance to pay tribute to this famous old note with a LIMITED EDITION DateStamp™. But only a very limited number of 10 Shilling Notes will be released in this way, so you’ll need to be quick if you want to secure one for your collection! Click here to order one today >>

The longest bank holiday in British history…

In August 1914, the British economy was in turmoil because of the instability brought on by the oncoming war on the continent. Bankers and politicians were desperately looking for ways to secure Britain’s finances and prevent the banks from collapsing.

So to buy time to look for a solution, the government extended the national bank holiday on 3rd August to include Tuesday 4th, Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th August – making this the longest bank holiday in British history!

1 1st series 1914 note - The longest bank holiday in British history...
£1 1st Series Treasury Issue Banknote

The government decided that a large supply of banknotes had to be made available for the values of £1 and 10 shillings, making it easy for the public to make small transactions and to dissuade the hoarding of precious metal coins. However, The Bank of England was not able to prepare and print the required number of notes quickly enough, so the government took the unprecedented step of deciding to issue the notes itself.

These banknotes became known as the Treasury banknotes and were unlike anything the British public had ever seen. Until this point the lowest denomination banknote was £5, and in those days this was such a large sum that many people would never have seen or used a banknote before.

That means that these Treasury notes now stand out as the first widely circulated banknotes in England.

SPEC 1 3rd Series 1917 obverse reverse note - The longest bank holiday in British history...
£1 3rd Series Treasury Issue Banknote

And what’s more, the Treasury notes featured a portrait of King George V. Nowadays we’re used to seeing Her Majesty on our banknotes, but the Treasury notes were the first British notes to feature a portrait of the monarch. In fact, Bank of England notes would not display an image of the monarch until 1960.

Treasury notes played a vital role in keeping the economy moving during the First World War and for the first time in England and Wales, paper money became normal currency used by ordinary people.

These notes were born out of Britain’s longest bank holiday and now stand as some of the most interesting banknotes in notaphily history!


If you’re interested…

Warren Fisher One Pound Silver Banknote Close Up2 1 - The longest bank holiday in British history...

Today you have the opportunity to own a FINE SILVER reproduction of the 3rd issue Treasury Note. Act now to secure this perfect banknote commemorative.

Click here to order your FINE SILVER reproduction Treasury Note now >>>

The day the ten bob note disappeared…

Almost 50 years ago, the ten bob note was in every wallet, purse and pocket in Britain. The 10 Shilling banknote would have been recognisable to every schoolchild in Britain, a fact that certainly isn’t the case today!

Worth the equivalent of 50p, back then it would have bought you 6 pints of beer, 10 loaves of bread, or 17 pints of milk. It’s hard to imagine a 50p going so far these days!

ten shilling note image - The day the ten bob note disappeared...

The 10 Shilling banknote was the smallest denomination note ever issued by the Bank of England. The denomination was first issued as a banknote by the Treasury during the First World War as an emergency currency and was then issued as a generally circulating note by the Bank of England from 1928.

However, in 1966 when the decision was made to convert Britain’s coinage to a decimal currency it sadly meant saying goodbye to the well-loved 10 Shilling Note.

Under this new system, there was no place for the 10 bob note. It was decided that the new decimal replacement should be issued as a coin, the main reason being that notes had an average lifetime of about five months so it was inefficient to keep replacing a note with such a low denomination.

50 pence piece 298x300 - The day the ten bob note disappeared...

As a result, the first ever 7-sided coins was introduced in 1969 – the now instantly recognisable 50p coin. The two currencies co-existed for around a year, but finally, on 22nd November 1970, the old 10 bob note ceased to be legal tender.

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Almost 50 years on, the 50p is now a staple of British culture and one of the most collectable coins internationally. The 10 bob note stands as an important reminder of the pre-decimal coinage our generation grew up with and also of one of the most significant moments in the history of British currency – decimalisation.


If you’re interested…

Today you have the opportunity to own a FINE SILVER reproduction of the 10 Shilling Banknote for JUST £45. But with limited stock available, you will need to act quickly to secure this perfect piece of nostalgia…

landing page Ten Shillings Note 300x148 - The day the ten bob note disappeared...

Click here to order your FINE SILVER reproduction 10 Shilling Note >>>