GBP – United Kingdom Pound Sterling

Monetary System

1707: 1 pound sterling = 20 shillings = 240 pence
15.02.1971: 1 pound sterling (GBP) = 100 pence

2015 – 2019 Polymer Queen Elizabeth II Issues

The 5- and 10-pound notes are the first Bank of England notes printed by De La Rue on polymer substrate, in this case, Guardian from Innovia Films, a division of CCL Industries. Within six months of their release, the bank acknowledged public concerns regarding trace amounts of animal-derived tallow in the production of the polymer substrate, yet decided neither to withdraw nor stop the introduction of the 10- and 20-pound denominations. A new 20-pound note featuring the artist J.M.W. Turner is expected in 2020, also to be printed on polymer, with De La Rue supplying Safeguard for 25% of the notes, and CCL Secure (previously Innovia Films) supplying Guardian for the remaining 75% of notes. On 4 June 2019, the bank announced that supplying the polymer substrate for a new 50-pound note will also be shared between the two firms. According to a press release dated 15 July 2019, the Bank of England has revealed that Alan Turing and his work will appear on the back of the new 50-pound polymer note to be introduced by the end of 2021.

Description: 5.00 Pound   Size: 125 x 65 mm

Blue, brown, yellow, and green. Front: English text; Bank of England seal; Queen Elizabeth II; Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben); coronation crown; Bank of England headquarters, London; coats of arms; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Houses of Parliament, London; Winston Churchill; maze at Blenheim Palace in green foil. Kurz’s Kinegram Colors holographic stripe. No security thread. Watermark (shadow image): None. Printer: (De La Rue). 125 x 65 mm. Polymer (Guardian).
This is the first note in the world to use Kurz’s Kinegram Colors holographic stripe.

Description: 10.00 Pound   Size: 130 x 67 mm

Orange, brown, and yellow. Front: English text; Bank of England seal; Queen Elizabeth II; Winchester Cathedral; coronation crown; quill; Bank of England headquarters, London; coats of arms; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; seated Elizabeth Bennet examining letters upon Austin’s 12-sided writing table; horse, carriage, and trees outside Godmersham Park House; Jane Austin; Miss Bingley quote; open book copper foil patch. Kurz’s Kinegram Colors holographic stripe. No security thread. Watermark (shadow image): None. Printer: (De La Rue). 130 x 67 mm. Polymer (Guardian).
This is the first BOE note with a tactile feature to help the sight impaired.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 139 x 73 mm

Violet. Front: English text; Bank of England seal; Queen Elizabeth II; coronation crown; Margate lighthouse; coats of arms; Queen Elizabeth II; Tintern Abbey window. Back: English text; Turner’s painting, “The Fighting Temeraire;” self-portrait of Joseph Mallord William Turner; Turner’s signature from his will. Kurz’s Kinegram Colors holographic stripe. No security thread. Watermark (shadow image): None. Printer: (De La Rue). 139 x 73 mm. Polymer (Guardian and Safeguard).
In March 2020, this note won the “Best New Banknote” award at the High Security Printing EMEA Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

2006 – 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Issues

These notes continue the historical theme and, for the first time, the bank of England seal appears at lower left front. Both notes depict a vignette of the Bank of England headquarters in London. For the first time also, one of the historical figures is not English: the economist Adam Smith, who appears on the 20-pound note, was a Scotsman.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 150 x 80 mm

Purple, red, and green. Front: English text; Bank of England seal; holographic stripe with an image of Adam Smith, 20, and £; Bank of England headquarters, London; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Adam Smith; illustration from The Division of Labour in Pin Manufacturing. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II and electrotype £20. Printer: (De La Rue). 150 x 80 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington.Replacement notes: Prefix LL.

Description: 50.00 Pounds   Size: 156 x 85 mm

Red, pink, and orange. Front: English text; Bank of England seal; Bank of England headquarters, London; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Matthew Boulton; horse with rider and carriage outside Boulton’s Soho factory building; Whitbread steam engine; James Watt; cogs. Solid and windowed Motion security threads. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II and electrotype £50. Printer: (De La Rue). 156 x 85 mm. Paper.

2000 – 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Issues

These notes have large denominations at upper left/right on front and depict famous figures from English history on back.

Description: 5.00 Pounds   Size: 135 x 70 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Blue, green, brown, and yellow. Front: English text; holographic patch; circle for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners at Newgate; skeleton keys; Elizabeth Fry (social reformer). Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 135 x 70 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington. Replacement notes: Prefix LL.Initial print runs of the 5-pound note were suspended after only one week after it was discovered the serial number could be rubbed off from the oval-shaped unvarnished halo above the hologram. The solution was to lob off the top of the oval so that the serial number was printed over varnished paper.

Description: 10.00 Pounds   Size: 142 x 75 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Orange, brown, green, and yellow. Front: English text; holographic patch; diamond for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; magnifying lens; flowers; hummingbird; HMS Beagle; Charles Darwin. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 142 x 75 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington. Replacement notes: Prefix LL.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 150 x 80 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Purple, red, green, and blue. Front: English text; holographic patch; square for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Worcester Cathedral; St. Ceclia, patron saint of musicians; flying angel blowing trumpet; Sir Edward Elgar. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 150 x 80 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington. Replacement notes: Prefix LL.

1990 – 2006 Queen Elizabeth II Issues

These notes have an updated portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on front and depict famous figures from English history on back.

Description: 5.00 Pounds   Size: 135 x 70 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Blue, green, yellow, orange, and pink. Front: English text; seated Britannia; circle for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Skerne Bridge on Stockton & Darlington Railway; the Rocket steam engine, built by Robert Stephenson; George Stephenson. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 135 x 70 mm. Paper.

Description: 5.00 Pounds   Size: 135 x 70 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Blue, green, yellow, orange, and pink. Front: English text; seated Britannia; circle for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Skerne Bridge on Stockton & Darlington Railway; the Rocket steam engine, built by Robert Stephenson; George Stephenson. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 135 x 70 mm. Paper.

Description: 10.00 Pounds   Size: 142 x 75 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Brown, orange, purple, green, and yellow. Front: English text; seated Britannia; diamond for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; cricket match at Dingley Dell from The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens; Charles Dickens. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 142 x 75 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington.

Description: 10.00 Pounds   Size: 142 x 75 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Brown, orange, purple, green, and yellow. Front: English text; seated Britannia; diamond for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; cricket match at Dingley Dell from The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens; Charles Dickens. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 142 x 75 mm. Paper.
Like preceding issues, but denomination numeral top left and right, both front and back.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 149 x 80 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Purple, red, orange, yellow, and blue. Front: English text; seated Britannia; square for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Michael Faraday giving lecture at the Royal Institution; Michael Faraday. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 149 x 80 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 149 x 80 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Purple, red, orange, yellow, and blue. Front: English text; seated Britannia; square for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Michael Faraday giving lecture at the Royal Institution; Michael Faraday. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 149 x 80 mm. Paper.
Like preceding issues, but denomination numerals more sharply defined, appearing top left and right, both front and back.

Description: 50.00 Pounds   Size: 156 x 85 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Red, pink, orange, yellow, and blue. Front: English text; seated Britannia; pyramid for the partially sighted; Queen Elizabeth II; holographic patch. Back: English text; house of Sir John Houblon on Threadneedle Street, London; 18th-century Bank of England gatekeeper in uniform; Sir John Houblon (first Governor of Bank of England). Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 156 x 85 mm. Paper.
Designed by Roger Withington.

1971 – 1991 Queen Elizabeth II Issues

These notes have an updated portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on front and depict famous figures from English history on back.

Description: 1.00 Pounds   Size: 135 x 67 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Green and orange. Front: English text; seated Britannia; medallion of caduceus, cornucopia, olive branch; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; solar system; geometric diagram from Newton’s Principia; telescope; seated Isaac Newton holding book. Solid security thread. Watermark: Isaac Newton. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 135 x 67 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston.

Description: 1.00 Pounds   Size: 135 x 67 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Green, yellow, lilac, and orange. Front: English text; seated Britannia; medallion of caduceus, cornucopia, olive branch; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; solar system; geometric diagram from Newton’s Principia; telescope; seated Isaac Newton holding book. Solid security thread. Watermark: Isaac Newton. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 135 x 67 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston. Like preceding issues, but more colors on back, redesigned elements surrounding sun, different prefix format, W lower left back, and lithographed back.

Description: 5.00 Pounds   Size: 146 x 78 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Blue, pink, lilac, and yellow. Front: English text; Winged Victory; seated Britannia; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; scene from Battle of Fuentes de Onoro (1811); Duke of Wellington wearing military uniform. Security thread varieties. Watermark: Duke of Wellington. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 146 x 78 mm. Paper.

Description: 10.00 Pounds   Size: 151 x 85 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Brown, orange, and yellow. Front: English text; seated Britannia; lily; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Florence Nightingale holding candle at work in Barracks Hospital, Scutari, Crimea; standing Florence Nightingale holding folded sheet of paper. Security thread varieties. Watermark: Florence Nightingale. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 151 x 85 mm. Paper.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 160 x 90 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Purple, blue, and gold. Front: English text; seated Britannia; Saint George on horseback slaying dragon; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; scene from Romeo and Juliet; statue of William Shakespeare at Westminster Abbey, London. Solid security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 160 x 90 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston.

Description: 20.00 Pounds   Size: 160 x 90 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Purple, blue, green, and gold. Front: English text; seated Britannia; Saint George on horseback slaying dragon; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; scene from Romeo and Juliet; statue of William Shakespeare at Westminster Abbey, London. Windowed security thread. Watermark: William Shakespeare. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 160 x 90 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston.
This is the first note in the world with a windowed security thread. Like preceding issues, but different colors, no stippling in watermark area, different watermark, different prefix format, and windowed security thread.

Description: 50.00 Pounds   Size: 169 x 95 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Olive, orange, and lilac. Front: English text; seated Britannia; design features from Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London; phoenix; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, viewed from River Thames; floor plans of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London; Christopher Wren. Contoured security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 169 x 95 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston.

Description: 50.00 Pounds   Size: 169 x 95 mm
Information: This note is an outmoded note but it’s allowed to be purchased from our customers

Olive, orange, and lilac. Front: English text; seated Britannia; design features from Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London; phoenix; Queen Elizabeth II. Back: English text; Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, viewed from River Thames; floor plans of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London; Christopher Wren. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Queen Elizabeth II. Printer: (Bank of England Works). 169 x 95 mm. Paper.
Designed by Henry Eccleston.
Like preceding issues, but color changes in text, denomination numerals, and Britannia symbol, and windowed security thread.

United Kingdom

The union of the crowns of England (which had already annexed Wales) and Scotland in 1603, followed by a merger of their two parliaments in 1707, created the United Kingdom of Great Britain (the name of the largest island in the British Isles). With the annexation of Ireland in 1801, this became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, then with the secession of the bulk of the island of Ireland in 1921, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Eight banks are currently authorized to issue banknotes in the United Kingdom, although formerly many more regional banks were also authorized issuers. However, only the Bank of England is authorized to issue banknotes in England and Wales and, by extension, for the United Kingdom as a whole. Wales has never issued banknotes, although the question was debated, and rejected, in the UK parliament in 2016.