When the new polymer £5 note was released in September 2016, serial numbers became the talk of a nation. Stories of early serial numbers selling for thousands of pounds were commonplace. An “AK37 007 James Bond Bank of England Polymer £5 note” sold for £5000 – 1,000 times its face value!
So with the release of the new Jane Austen £10 note TODAY, I’ve taken a look at the serial numbers I think everybody will be searching for…
The first prefixes I considered were JA01, JA75 (Jane Austen’s birth year) and JA17 (the year of Jane Austen’s death).
However, whilst these will likely become popular with collectors in the future, it could be many years before notes with these serial numbers enter circulation due to the huge amount of possible combinations that would come before ‘JA’.
Prefixes on the £5 notes started at AA and there are 60 notes on a sheet, AA01- AA60. For each of these cyphers there are 999,000 serial numbers printed: 000001 to 999000. Therefore for the first AA cypher there’s an incredible 59,940,000 notes!
I know that with the £10 note being larger, there are only 54 notes per sheet but that’s still A LOT of combinations.
So I started looking at the main 8 digit serial numbers and there are certainly some key Jane Austen dates collectors will be looking out for:
- Serial numbers 16 121775 and 18 071817 would represent the author’s date of birth and death respectively.
- Serial number 17 751817 would be her birth and death year combined.
- And true Jane Austen fanatics would know that Serial number 28 011813 is the date that Jane Austen’s most celebrated novel, Pride and Prejudice, was first published.
What others serial numbers should I look out for?
The first is obvious, AA01 notes are the first to be printed and will undoubtedly be popular amongst collectors.
The rest of the AA prefix notes will be interesting to collectors but not necessarily worth a huge amount, although that said, some £5 notes did sell for around £20 last year – four times their face value.
There may well be a rush to find the AK47 serial numbers again and James Bond 007 will likely be popular.
Consecutively numbered notes are always interesting to collectors too, one man sold three consecutive AA01 notes for £456.
Will all the serial numbers be circulated?
Actually, no. The Bank of England will always hold back some of the notes with the earliest serial numbers, donating them to people or institutions that were involved in the development of the note or who traditionally receive a note when a new series is issued. For example, the Queen receives AA01 000001 and the Churchill War Rooms received a new £5 note with serial number AA01 001945, the date that WWII ended.
The Bank of England did offer people the chance to own some of the earliest serial numbers when they held an auction (which raised £194,500 for a number of charities). However, these were not cheap, the earliest note (AA01 000017) sold for £4,150 and the average price for a single £5 note was £865.
Can you request specific serial numbered notes from the bank?
Sadly not. For the launch of the new £5 note 440 million bank notes were printed and these were printed in very large batches.
There will be even more new £10 notes printed than the £5, to service the country’s 48,000 ATMs for example, so it’s just not possible for the bank to separate certain serial numbers.
How much should I pay for a new £10 note?
The simple answer is, it’s completely up to you. An early serial numbered £10 note will be a genuine piece of the country’s history. It’s likely the bank of England will hold another auction of early editions, so if you have the disposable income, why not?!
However, when the polymer £5 note was released we saw a collecting frenzy. The prices people were paying (and demanding) for some of the early notes was vastly inflated and in some cases ridiculous, as Yasmin explained earlier in the year.
Just remember, a year down the line the market has settled and you can now pick up an AA01 note for around £7.00 on eBay.
2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. To celebrate such an inspirational female figure, the Royal Mint and the Bank of England have chosen to honour her on a brand new £2 coin and £10 banknote.
You can own one of the very first Polymer £10 notes issued in perfect mint condition alongside the 2017 Jane Austen £2 Coin issued by The Royal Mint.