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!
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
Celebrate all things quintessentially British with the 26 new 10p coins released into circulation this March. The Royal Mint’s A to Z Silver Proof Coin Series is set to create a collecting storm, with each stunning design featuring a much loved British icon, from the famed English breakfast to the legendary King Arthur. Which will be your favourite?
A is for Angel of the North, the largest UK sculpture, standing at 20 metres tall and welcoming visitors to Gateshead with outstretched, curving wings that are said to give a sense of embrace.
B is for Bond, James Bond. This coin features the unmistakable gun barrel and 007 logo from the nation’s favourite fictional Secret Service Agent and suave character, first brought to the Silver Screen by Sean Connery in 1962.
C could only be Cricket, the Great British sporting pastime and the country’s national sport since the 18th century. We don’t like cricket, we love it!
D stands for Double Decker Bus, famously recognised world-wide as an icon for London, with many of the city’s buses still remaining red as a symbol for the capital and as a much loved tourist attraction.
E brings us to the first mention of Great British food, the irresistible English breakfast, also known as a fry up and featuring much loved classics such as eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and black pudding.
F is for Fish and Chips, another food lover’s favourite and British sea-side classic, with the first fish and chip shop opening in the 1860’s, although to this day there is much debate over whether credit is owed to the North or South of Britain for its origin.
G stands for Greenwich Meantime, with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich being famous as the home of the historic Prime Meridian of the World, dividing eastern and western hemispheres of the globe.
H is none other than the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, perhaps the most recognisable skyline along the River Thames for the past 300 years and meeting place to examine UK Government, laws, taxes and current issues.
I takes us to another classic sea-side treat, the Ice Cream Cone. With a multitude of flavours, toppings and types to choose from, everyone enjoys a scoop or two of ice cream on a British summer’s day.
J is for Jubilee and what better excuse could there be to bring the community together and get out the bunting for a Great British street party than to celebrate our much loved monarchs?
K stands for the myth of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, fabled fifth century warriors of the Arthurian legend, believing in the code of chivalry and upholding the values of honour, honesty, valour and loyalty.
L is another British myth shrouded in mystery, the legend of the aquatic beast known as the Loch Ness Monster or ‘Nessie’ as commonly referred to in Scottish folklore, still yet to be officially discovered.
M stands for the humble Mackintosh, an essential item of clothing needed to battle against the Great British weather. Because when it rains, it pours!
N is for the NHS, or National Health Service, a hugely ambitious idea initiated in 1948 to bring good healthcare to all and now renowned as one of the best healthcare provisions in the world.
O is the mighty Oak tree, a symbol of strength and endurance and the national tree for England and Wales, arguably the most commonly known native British tree found in deciduous woods.
P has to be the Great British Post Box, resplendent in red and an iconic image gracing postcards and tourist souvenir shops across the country.
Q is a world renowned Great British value, forming an orderly Queue and waiting in line with good manners and patience. The people of Britain have queuing etiquette down to a fine art.
R stands for our beloved Robin redbreast, the UK’s favourite bird that can be seen year round, but most famously at Christmas time when they make a beautiful picture against the frost and snow.
S is the prominent prehistoric British monument, Stonehenge, consisting of a ring of stones from our Neolithic ancestors, forming one of the Wonders of the World and a source of both spiritualism and inspiration.
T could be none other than the quintessential British cup of Tea, brewed to perfection. The UK has been one of the greatest consumers of tea since the 18th century, with 165 million cups drank daily according to the UK Tea & Infusions Association.
U stands for a classic British symbol, the Union Flag, otherwise known as the Union Jack, which was first introduced in 1606 and flown at the main masthead of all English and Scottish ships.
V is for Villages, with Britain being known for its quaint communities and setting an ideal for living in a peaceful rural atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
W is the World Wide Web, invented by British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 to open up the internet so that anyone, anywhere could use it, connecting the world with a single ‘universal space’.
X Marks the Spot of course! Throughout history, treasure hunters, great explorers and infamous pirates alike have set out to find hidden bounties buried at secret map locations marked with the letter X.
Y stands for the Yeoman Warder or ‘Beefeaters’ that nowadays stand ceremonially on guard at the Tower of London and were originally part of the Yeoman Guard, charged to personally protect the monarchs of Tudor times.
Z is the final coin in the series and stands for Zebra Crossing, used in the UK and worldwide to give right of way to pedestrians, but perhaps known most famously in the UK for the Abbey Road crossing featured in the iconic Beatles album artwork.
Let us know your favourite by commenting below.
If you’re interested…
You can own all of the A-Z 10ps in Silver Proof quality now.