The new £10 banknote featuring author Jane Austen is available from today, but find a note with a low serial number and you could sell it for thousands.
From today, Thursday 14 September 2017, the new polymer tenner will replace the current paper £10 note, which features scientist Charles Darwin.
The Bank of England says the current paper £10 will cease to be legal tender in spring 2018. While it has yet to set an exact date, it says consumers will be given at least three months’ notice of the withdrawal date.
The Jane Austen note (pictured below) becomes the second polymer – or plastic – banknote to launch in the UK, following in the footsteps of the Winston Churchill £5 note, which went into circulation in September 2016.
These polymer notes have courted controversy for their use of animal fat – known as tallow – in the production process. This led to criticism from vegetarians, vegans and religious organisations.
Is your tenner worth thousands?
While the first new £10 note – with the serial number AA01 000001 – will be presented to the Queen, there is expected to be huge interest in acquiring banknotes with low serial numbers.
Serial numbers 16 121775 and 18 071817 – which represent the birth and death dates of Jane Austen - will also be highly sought after, according to ChangeChecker.org.
Analysis conducted by M&G Investments found that because of inflation, £10 in 1817 – the year of Jane Austen’s death – would now be worth around £786 today. But new banknotes could be worth even more.
A Winston Churchill £5 note with the serial number AA01 000017, for example, was sold at auction for £4,150 in October 2016.
The new Jane Austen tenner could fetch similar sums at auction according to Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The release of the polymer £5 in September 2016 caused a frenzy of excitement about how much the new notes could be worth to collectors,” she says. “Suddenly cash machines felt like lottery machines, with an outside chance that instead of furnishing you with a fiver, they could deliver an asset worth a small fortune.
“Some of these notes were indeed worth thousands of pounds – with an official auction by Spink & Sons selling a note with the serial number AA01 000017 for £4,150. However, in the vast majority of cases, a feverish checking of the relevant numbers revealed that each brand new Polymer note was worth exactly £5.”
The Bank of England won’t confirm which cash machines and bank branches will have the first new notes, although major towns and cities will receive them before rural areas.