The end is nigh for the pound note

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The Independent Online
The butt of English jokes and a much-loved national symbol, the Scottish pounds 1 note may soon be consigned to history. The Royal Bank of Scotland is asking customers what they think of Britain's only surviving pound note - and the suspicion is the bank would like to drop it.

Pound notes are expensive to produce and last on average only about nine months, ground up in pocket or purse with harder-wearing coins.

The Bank of England stopped issuing pound notes in 1984 and within five years the Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank had followed suit.

Scots were promiscuous in their use of currency before the issue of pound notes. Spanish doubloons, ducats, and the coins of Germany, Holland and England were all used in preference to domestic coins of uncertain value.

Though the Act of Union of 1707 also brought currency union, national differences were still acknowledged. The first Scottish pounds 1 note was issued by the Bank of Scotland in 1704. The Royal's first was introduced in 1727. A spokesman insisted yesterday that no decision had been taken. "We are doing some research to find out what the public think," he said.

Peter Stillwell, chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said retailers would not regret the end of the note. "People like their Scottish notes, but unfortunately the pounds 1 note gets so tatty and can be difficult to count and handle."