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 >>
Since 1952, the Queen has celebrated her official birthday on a different date each year. In fact, for the past five years alone she has celebrated her birthday on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th June, and next week she will celebrate her birthday on the 12th!
Now you’re probably wondering how this can be… and that’s because the Queen actually has two birthdays every year.
The first is on the actual day the Queen was born – 21st April 1926 – meaning that in April this year she marked her 95th birthday, although the celebrations were far more muted than normal.
Currently the reigning monarch’s second birthday is an official birthday on the second Saturday in June – a practice that dates back as far as 1748.
When King George II was the sovereign, the annual military procession (which later became the ‘Trooping the Colour’ parade) became synonymous with celebrating the monarch. However, King George II’s birthday was in October, and since good weather couldn’t be guaranteed for the annual parade in autumn, he decided to mark the date in the summer instead when there was a better chance of good weather.
And so, the tradition to celebrate the monarch’s birthday in the summer stuck, and each summer the Queen gets the chance to celebrate her birthday again!
This year 12th June will mark a particularly special birthday for the Queen. Turning 95 is a milestone achievement – less than 1% of the population reach this impressive age, so it’s no wonder that the Queen’s June birthday is set to be an important moment for the country and collectors alike.
And with the Queen’s 95th birthday being such a milestone achievement, many commemoratives were issued to mark the occasion in April. Since then we have seen repeated sell-outs.
But there’s one commemorative that has been issued specifically to mark the Queen’s official birthday that only 750 collectors will have the chance to own.
The Queen’s Official 95th Birthday Penny DateStampTM is set to be released on the 12th June. Most notably, this commemorative contains an original penny struck in 1926, the year the Queen was born. Each one has been individually capsulated and postmarked with the Queen’s official 95th birthday – 12th June 2021. What’s more, the one day only postmark ensures that the edition limit is guaranteed and that no more can ever be produced.
With such a limited number available, this DateStampTM issue is sure to be another sell-out as collectors aim to pay tribute to the Queen’s milestone birthday and her longevity. You can be one of them today by clicking the link below.
If you’re interested:
You can pay tribute to our longest reigning monarch by pre-ordering the Queen’s Official 95th Birthday Penny DateStampTM here. Only 750 will ever be issued, so you’ll need to be quick.
Today marks Her Majesty’s 95th Birthday.
And to mark this incredible Royal milestone the WORLD’S FIRST Silver Sovereign DateStamp™ has just been released.
But ONLY 500 are available WORLDWIDE at the incredible price of JUST £59.99 (+p&p).
And in my latest video I explain why you NEED to add this WORLD FIRST to your collection. But with just 500 available, I don’t expect it to be available for long.