The new Fiver has arrived

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In September 13, 2016
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Source:  Bank of England

13 September 2016 Press Release:

The Bank of England’s first polymer note – the new £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill – enters circulation today, Tuesday 13 September.

The New Fiver is cleaner, safer and stronger. The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new generation of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit. The note is also resistant to dirt and moisture and so remains in better condition for longer. The strength of the polymer material means that The New Fiver is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer – around 5 years.

Following the unveil of the note on 2 June at Blenheim Palace, Bank staff have travelled around the UK to show The New Fiver to the public and engage with retailers. Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier of the Bank of England said: “The regional roadshows have been a fantastic way to share the new note with the public and retailers. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have been struck by their enthusiasm to start using the notes.”

The Bank of England has printed 440 million New Fivers ready for issue and they will begin to be available from many cash machines and bank counters across the UK from today.

Paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses. The public can continue to spend paper £5 notes as usual until 5 May 2017 after which they will cease to be legal tender. Following this, paper £5 notes will still be exchanged at the Bank of England. The new polymer £10 featuring Jane Austen will enter circulation in summer 2017 followed by the J.M.W. Turner £20 note by 2020.

To help blind and vision impaired people distinguish between denominations the notes retain tiered sizing and include bold numerals and similar colour palettes to the current notes. In addition, polymer £10 and £20 notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots, and the £5 note will be distinguishable by the absence of a feature.

The first £5 note – the White Fiver – was issued in 1793, printed only on one side and in black & white. The first fiver to feature a portrait of the monarch came in 1963 and the current portrait was introduced in 1990. There are currently 3.4 billion Bank of England banknotes in circulation, of which 329 million are fivers.

In July 2016, the Bank announced that The New Fiver would be the first Bank of England banknote to include symbols representing all four of the home nations. The imagery is taken from the Royal Coast of Arms and the Royal Badge of Wales.

The portrait of Winston Churchill on The New Fiver is from a photograph taken on 30 December 1941 by the renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh © Yousuf Karsh/Camera Press. The note also contains a view of Westminster: acknowledging that for almost sixty years Westminster was Churchill’s life © Abi Daker.

GBP05 Image: Bank of England