A new £10 note made from plastic and featuring the renowned novelist Jane Austen has been launched today.
The reveal, by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, marks the 200th anniversary of the death of the Pride and Prejudice author.
Austen will be the only woman – aside from the Queen – to feature on a British note, although there are three on Scottish banknotes.
Alongside Austen’s portrait, the new note will also feature a quote from Pride and Prejudice when Miss Bingley says: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment but reading!”
Some 100 million polymer £10 notes have been printed but will not go into circulation until September 14.
“Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens,” said Carney.
“The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.”
Security features on the new £10 note include:
- A see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait
- Winchester Cathedral shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back
- A quill at the side of the window which changes from purple to orange
- A hologram which contains the word ‘Ten’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted
- A hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted
- A book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letter JA
- Micro-lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are visible under a microscope
- The words ‘Bank of England’ printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note.
The official unveiling took place at Winchester Cathedral, where Austen was buried in 1817.
The new tenner follows the introduction of the plastic fiver, featuring Sir Winston Churchill. They are a lot more durable and harder to counterfeit than the old paper notes.
However, the Bank ran into trouble with vegans and vegetarians last year when it emerged the polymers used to make the new notes contained tallow, an animal fat rendered from beef or mutton.
An online petition calling for the production process to be changed attracted 136,000 signatures. But the Bank has so far refused to alter the formula.
To coincide with the Austen £10 note, Advisa, the Swedish finance company, reviewed every note currently in circulation around the world and found that only 15% of the faces that appear on banknotes are women.
Some 83 regions, including the United States, do not celebrate women at all. According to the findings, only 52 women appear on the world’s banknotes, making 178 appearances in total. In contrast, 398 men are featured 995 times.
Only Sweden, Australia and Japan of the major nations achieve gender parity, with at least 50% of the faces appearing on their banknotes being women.
The United States joins North Korea, Russia, Pakistan, South Africa and India among the 83 other territories that don’t feature any women on their banknotes. All of the people featured on American currency are dead, white, male, politicians.
Of the 36 Sterling pound note denominations currently in circulation across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 76% of the faces featured on the banknotes are male, with that figure rising to 88% once the Queen is excluded from the results.
The three remaining women featured on British notes – scientist Mary Somerville, doctor and suffragist Elsie Inglis and writer Nan Shepherd – all appear on Scottish currency.