Collectors see a bonus in new notes: Fresh colours will reduce confusion and excite traders, says Vincent Duggleby

THE BRITISH are very sensitive about new banknotes but the Bank of England's decision to change the colour of the denomination symbols, starting with the 'Stephenson' pounds 5, to make them clearer, will be welcomed by collectors for different reasons.

Unlike postage stamp issues, new varieties of banknote are infrequent. During the 20 years that the previous series D 'Wellington' pounds 5 note was in circulation there were only two minor changes: a switch to litho printing in 1973 and the incorporation of a wider security thread in 1987. The same happened to the 'Nightingale' pounds 10 note while the 'Shakespeare' pounds 20 underwent a colour change in 1984 to combat forgery.

The washed-out colours of the current series E notes makes them more difficult to copy, but it also tends to confuse people, the elderly in particular, and the bank has responded to this concern. Among collectors, however, a new series means hunting for the first prefixes, as well as the last ones of the old notes.

Tomorrow a limited issue goes on sale of 2,000 presentation packs, with matched serial numbers, bearing the first ciphers of four notes with the signature of the new Chief Cashier, Graham Kentfield, who was appointed last November.

The four notes: pounds 5 RO1; pounds 10 KEO1; pounds 20 EO1; and pounds 50 also EO1, have a face value of pounds 85 and are priced at pounds 205 (including VAT). There has been some confusion about the pounds 20, since Kentfield notes with an 'A' prefix have turned up. The Bank says these were used to replace faulty notes in a bundle and that 'E' really was the first letter.

Some collectors are cynical about this explanation, pointing to the number of errors which have occurred over numbering and misprinting. A woman in Sheffield recently found a pounds 20 note with the watermark upside down and back to front and was nearly arrested when the supermarket mistakenly thought it was a forgery. Not that anyone is grumbling: error notes can fetch between pounds 75 and pounds 200.

The Bank says there are no plans to set aside any of the new notes for future presentation packs. No one knows when or where the first new pounds 5 prefix (AA01) will turn up, although it might be worth trying the cashiers at Threadneedle Street. The same applies to the revised pounds 10 and pounds 20 notes which will appear 'during the course of 1993', although their prefixes have not yet been decided.

It may well depend on the luck of the draw at the local cash dispenser, when the notes start going into circulation from 1 March, and dealers are sure to offer finders an instant, if modest, profit.

AN EXAMPLE of the rare unissued Bank of England pounds 1 note prepared in 1914 at the outset of the First World War comes up for auction in Manchester on Wednesday. The note, of which fewer than a dozen have survived, has the printed 'promise to pay the bearer on demand One Pound in standard gold coin of the United Kingdom'. The auctioneers, Banking Memorabilia of Carlisle, estimate it could fetch up to pounds 3,500.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower