New £20 Polymer:
We’re into finance, we know, we’re cool. So you’re just going to have to forgive us for this blog, it’s not very often that a local hero makes it onto a £20 note, least of all the new £20 polymer. Few people will realise that the newest addition to our banknotes sees artist JMW Turner’s face replacing that of economist Adam Smith. For those of you in doubt about the ‘local connection,’ Turner had a studio at Petworth House while under the patronage of the 3rd Lord Egremont. The house still boasts 19 of the artist’s works, including early works as well as wide vistas installed in the woodwork of the house. On occasion, you can even visit the studio where Turner painted some of those quintessentially English landscapes you find on tea-towels!
Even better news is that the new £20 polymer is reported to be the Bank of England’s ‘most secure ever banknote.’ The security measures include:
- A metallic hologram that flits between the word ‘twenty’ and ‘pounds’ when tilted.
- A purple foil patch bearing the letter ‘T.’
- Turner’s signature from his will.
- The depiction of ‘The Fighting Temeraire,’ – one of Turner’s most celebrated works.
- Turner’s famous 1818 lecture quote: ‘Light is therefore colour.’
- The signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s Chief cashier. This will be the first time her signature appears on a banknote.
The Future of Banknotes
While the added security features around the new polymer £20 will be good news in the fight against fraud, we can’t help but wonder how long they’ll actually be around for. Plastic notes are undoubtedly more durable than their paper predecessors. However, as the world becomes more sympathetic to sustainability, and contactless cards and online banking become more prevalent, questions over how long banknotes and coins can survive must be on the table. For now though, we can look forward to the new polymer £50 due for issue next year when Alan Turing will make a well-deserved appearance! No doubt you can expect a similar buzz of excitement from us around that time…