Is your £50 note about to expire?

If you’re lucky enough to have a stash of £50 notes tucked away in your mattress, you may want to dig them out and check if they’ll still be worth anything in a few months.

The Bank of England has announced that the old-style £50 notes which have been around for nearly 20 years will be soon be removed from circulation, and can only be used up until 30th April this year.

Houblon £50

The note in question features Sir John Houblon who was the Bank of England’s very first governor. It was first issued in April 1994 and it’s estimated there are still 63 million of them in circulation.

The decision comes following a review of the note’s ability to withstand fraud. From May onwards, only the £50 banknote featuring entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt will hold legal tender status and any institution is within their rights to refuse the old-style notes.

The Boulton and Watt note was the first to include a green ‘motion thread’ which has five windows featuring the pound symbol and the number 50 which moves when the note is tilted from side to side. The two men appear on the new note partly because of the integral role they had in manufacturing coins which were more difficult to counterfeit.

 Exchange before 30th April

In a video placed on YouTube, Victoria Cleland, head of notes division at the Bank, advises: “If you have any Houblon £50 notes, it’s best to spend, deposit or exchange them before 30 April.”

£50note posterHowever, there’s no need to panic just yet; Barclays, Natwest, RBS, Ulster Bank and the Post Office have agreed to exchange any older-style £50 notes for customers and non-customers up to the value of £200 until 30th October.


More details about the withdrawal have been included on a poster issued by  the Bank of England should you have any queries or concerns.