Houblon £50 note to be withdrawn by Bank of England in fraud crackdown

Savers and business people are being urged to exchange or deposit the older version of the notes, which feature out-dated security features

The £50 note which features a portrait of Sir John Houblon is to be withdrawn from circulation on Wednesday.

The Bank of England estimates that there are still 53 million of the notes in circulation, amounting to a value of £2.65bn.

Members of the public or business people who use the Houblon £50 notes are being urged to exchange them or deposit them at banks.

Barclays, NatWest, RBS, Ulster Bank and the Post Office have all agreed to exchange Houblon £50 notes for members of the public up to the value of £200 until 30 October 2014.

From May onwards, shops are unlikely to accept the older notes as payment. But the £50 banknote featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt, introduced in 2011, will still be legal.

Victoria Cleland, head of the notes division at the Bank of England, says the 2011 notes have the better security features that the Houblon versions.

“We’d expect a lot to be out there,” she said. "There was an increase in demand for fifties during the financial crisis”.

The withdrawal of the note forms part of the Bank’s crackdown on fraud. The Boulton and Watt notes were the first to feature a green ‘motion thread’, with five windows featuring the pound symbol and the number 50, which moves when titled from side to side.

A new £10 note bearing a portrait of Jane Austen, to be introduced in 2017, will also use the latest security features.

Sir John Houlbon was the first governor of the Bank of England. The banknote bearing his portrait was first issued in 1994 as part of the Bank’s 300 anniversary celebrations.

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