Why your AK47 £5 note isn’t worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

It’s been in the press almost every week since it was first released back in September, so we thought we would address some of the myths about the £5 polymer banknote.

The rare £5 note with serial number AK47 that ‘sold’ for over £80,000 on eBay!

Notes with the serial number AK47 have been particularly popular thanks to the machine gun connotations.  Back in October, news emerged that a £5 banknote with the prefix Ak47 had fetched a winning bid of £80,100 on the online market place eBay. The seller must have been overjoyed with the jackpot amount but it turned out the buyer had no intention of paying up.

hw 2017 1 pound back - Why your AK47 £5 note isn't worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

The bidding on this Ak47 banknote fetched a winning bid of £80,100

As much as we love the design of the new fiver, there is no way we would pay anywhere near £80,000 for it, no matter what serial number it had.

Or the fivers with a James Bond theme?

Described as an “AK37 007 James Bond Bank of England Polymer £5 note” in a lovely condition, this banknote sold for £5000.

untitled - Why your AK47 £5 note isn't worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

A James Bond themed £5 listing on eBay.

Although there must be plenty of James Bond fanatics out there we can think of so many other items of James Bond memorabilia that fans could spend £5000 on! And realistically, if you had the choice, which would you prefer to spend £5K on?

What about the AA01 banknotes?

When they were first released in September, the new polymer banknotes created a collecting storm. In fact I’m almost certain that every single person in the country checked their new note at some point to see if they were lucky enough to find one with the prefix AA01.

Although a banknote with the prefix AA01 might be worth slightly over face value to someone who is genuinely interested, we must remember that 1 million AA01 banknotes were printed. So as much as I wish it could be true, reality check – don’t expect a big payout if you do find one.

And the upside down fiver?

There have been countless stories and accounts of new plastic banknotes fetching eye-watering sums of money at auction over the recent weeks but one eBay seller took things a step further when he listed his ‘upside down’ banknote.

fiver upside down - Why your AK47 £5 note isn't worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

The ‘upside down’ fiver

Although the seller stated in the description that the listing was a joke, he still received lots of serious questions about the note.


Do look out for these £5 notes worth more than £20,000 in circulation! If you come across a fiver with a micro-engraved portrait on Jane Austen on, whatever you do, do NOT spend it.

jane fiver - Why your AK47 £5 note isn't worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

Four special £5 notes, engraved with a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen have been  put into circulation and could be worth more than £20,000. In fact, Graham Short’s work has an insurance valuation of £50,000 so these £5 notes will give you an extra £49,995 of value if you find one – one note has already been found at a cafe in South Wales.

Serious Collectors: What to look for…

Collecting banknotes is a serious hobby that many thousands of people all over the world enjoy.

There are many ways of assembling collections of banknotes,  for example banknotes that feature famous people (scientists, writers or politicians) or banknotes with historical context such as those from a certain era.

Generally collecting banknotes is not about the serial number it possesses, instead the chief cashier is of most interest, particularly on UK banknotes.  This is where real rarities can be found –  in the form of Chief Cashier signatures.

Banknote designs rarely change but on average cashiers change every 5 or 6 years with some in the position for as little as 3 years.

change checker cashiers bank of england 003 - Why your AK47 £5 note isn't worth £80,000 and other myths about the polymer banknote

The new polymer £5 banknotes have the current chief cashier signature – Victoria Cleland. These banknotes will always be considered the ‘first’ polymer banknotes regardless of what serial number they hold and importantly uncirculated notes or those in good condition will also always be more sought after.

So if you are genuinely interested in collecting banknotes, the chief cashier is what you should really be looking for.

  1. Andmee on January 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Nobody can spel here.

  2. cindy on December 29, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Not half, there will only be one of those. You shouldn’t of said anything

  3. Nigel OToole on December 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Where about son the new £5 note is the portrait of Jane Austin ?

  4. Liam on December 26, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    i have a plastic note that says 20 pounds in my colection

  5. H on December 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Is there any truth about higher vaue of the so called miss prints which have the bottom rows 5’s under the queens portrait in different places on different prints?

  6. acsadvice on December 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Your comments regarding the new Polymer £5 Note fail to take account of 2 major points: 1. Initially it was found that parts of the surface of the new £5 can be removed with a simple eraser. 2. Then it was admitted that the printing process includes the use of animal products. As a result, many Muslims/Vegans (particularly shopkeepers) are now refusing to accept or give the notes. Inevitably, the notes will be withdrawn. When – depends on how long it takes the bank to produce a suitable alternative. Once the process of gradual withdrawal of the 44 million notes printed commences, so the quantity available will quickly reduce. Logic says that the remaining notes, especially AA01 and AA47 in Mint, undistributed condition, will increase in value, whilst still remaining legal tender until a set period after the withdrawal process winds down.

    • Dr Dollar on January 16, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      They won’t pull the polymer note from circulation on religious/vegan grounds, the idea of that is lunacy

  7. James on December 21, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    My thoughts are that when the note WW19 391945 comes out it will be worth more than £5

    • cindy on December 29, 2016 at 1:37 am

      Not half, there will only be one of them, you shouldn’t have said anything

  8. Stuart watt on December 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I have just checked my £5 notes and there is the big Ben missing from the clear window of the note. Also the silver parts at the top and bottom of the note are missing. I have checked it under ultra violet light and the £5 symbol appears and took it to the post office and they said it seems to be a printing mistake. Any ideas if anyone has seen one or what it could be worth? Stuartwatt2010@gmail.com