In just a few days time, the brand new polymer £20 will be officially released and we certainly can’t wait to start seeing the notes featuring artist JMW Turner in our change!

This will be third polymer banknote to be released in the UK, following the release of the polymer Churchill £5 in 2016 and the polymer Jane Austen £10 note in 2017.

And, as ever, keen collectors will be eagerly awaiting the chance to hunt down the most sought-after serial numbers for the new note.

When the UK’s first polymer £5 note was released in September 2016, serial numbers became the talk of a nation and stories of early serial numbers selling for thousands of pounds were commonplace.

In fact, an “AK37 007 James Bond Bank of England Polymer £5 note” even sold for £5,000 on eBay – 1,000 times its face value!

A ‘James ‘Bond’ £5 note sold for £5,000 on eBay

But as we await the release of the new note on the 20th of February, which serial numbers should you be looking to get your hands on?

AA01 – the first notes to be printed

AA01 are the first serial numbers to be printed and always prove popular with collectors.

Our eBay Tracker follows the prices of the UK’s Top Coins and Banknotes, including the AA01 polymer £5 and £10 notes, which are currently selling for £10 and £15 respectively. However when the notes were first released we saw a collecting frenzy, with people paying (and demanding) vastly inflated prices for low serial number notes.

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!

Whilst the £20 note is larger than the £5, meaning less notes will be printed per sheet, there are still A LOT of combinations for AA cyphers on the new £20 – so make sure you keep your eyes out for them!

UK Bank notes are produced in very large batches (Image: the Bank of England)

However, 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 for the release of the £5 note the Churchill War Rooms received one with serial number AA01 001945, the date that WWII ended.

Key dates to look out for

It’s always worth looking out for certain serial numbers matching key dates relating JMW Turner that could become collectable.

For example, 23 041775 represents Turner’s date of birth, whilst 19 121851 relates to his death and 17 751851 would be his birth and death combined.

True Turner fans might also look for 18 381839 representing the date he painted ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ (featured on the new £20 note) and the date the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy respectively.

Turner’s ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ was painted in 1838 and features as a backdrop to the new £20 note

Novelty numbers and Consecutive notes

There may well also be a rush to find the AK47 serial numbers again and James Bond 007 will likely be popular once more.

Consecutively numbered notes are always interesting to collectors too – one man sold three consecutive AA01 notes for £456!

Q&A

Can you request specific serial numbered notes from the bank?

Sadly not. For the launch of the new £5 note 440 million banknotes were printed and these were printed in very large batches.

There will be even more new £20 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 £20 note?

The simple answer is, it’s completely up to you. An early serial numbered £20 note will be a genuine piece of the country’s history. It’s likely The Bank of England will hold an auction of early editions, so if you have the disposable income, why not?!

Will the old paper £20 note still be legal tender?

You will still be able to use the paper £20 note until The Bank of England withdraw it from circulation. This will be announced after the new note has been issued and they will give six months’ notice of the withdrawal date.

Many banks will accept withdrawn notes as deposits from customers. The Post Office may also accept withdrawn notes as a deposit into any bank account you can access at the Post Office. And, you can always exchange withdrawn notes with The Bank of England directly.

Where will I be able to find the new polymer £20 note?

We will be publishing a list of locations where the polymer £20 note will be available on the 20th, when the new note is released.


Own the exclusive 2017 Jane Austen £2 Coin and £10 Banknote Pack

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.

Click here to secure your pack today

The Royal Proclamation issued on the 14th of February 2020 confirms that an Elton John £5 coin will be released this year.

The news comes following the exciting release of the first coin in The Royal Mint’s Music Legends coin series – the Queen £5 – earlier this year.

It’s safe to assume the Elton John £5 will be part of this series and we’re sure that collectors and Elton fans alike will be feeling the love for this new coin.

At the moment, the designs are still top secret but the reverse is said to feature Elton John’s boater hat, glasses and bow tie set against a union flag and the inscription “ELTON JOHN”.

If you’d like to find out more, you can fill in our sign-up form below to stay up-to-date with all the latest news about this release.

Elton John BU £5 Sign Up

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Who else would you like to see on a Music Legends coin? Let us know in the comments below.


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

We’re excited to reveal to you the very first Scarcity Index of 2020!

The updated 50p, A-Z 10p and £2 indexes below allow you to discover how sought-after the coins in your collection really are…

This information has been compiled using data from the Change Checker Swap Centre and presented in the easy to use indexes below, with arrows to signify how many places up or down a coin has moved since the last Scarcity Index.

50p Scarcity Index

The previous Scarcity Index update saw some exciting changes to the 50p index, as we were able to include the 2018 50p coins following the release of their mintage figures.

This was great news for Change Checkers who have the 2018 Beatrix Potter 50ps in their collection, as both the Flopsy Bunny and Peter Rabbit 50ps have proved incredibly sought-after.

Despite both coins having the same mintage figure of 1,400,000, the Flopsy Bunny 50p is the most sought-after of the Beatrix Potter coins and is in fact the scarcest non-Olympic 50p coin in circulation, aside from of course the Kew Gardens 50p – the UK’s most sought-after circulation 50p.

Whilst both the Flopsy Bunny and 2018 Peter Rabbit 50ps have moved up the index one place since the last update, the other 2018 50ps haven’t fared quite so well, with the Mrs Tittlemouse and Paddington at the Station both moving down the index and the other 2018 50ps remaining unchanged.

The biggest mover on this latest Scarcity Index update goes to the Olympic Fencing 50p, which has moved up the index an incredible twelve places, following its five place drop on the previous update.

As we look forward to the Olympic Games which will be held in Tokyo later this year, perhaps we’ll see more of the Olympic 50ps increase in popularity by the next Scarcity Index update.

A-Z 10p Scarcity Index

We’re used to seeing quite a bit of movement on the A-Z 10p index as these particularly tricky-to-find coins are snapped up by collectors.

Interestingly, in this latest update only the top and bottom coins have remained unchanged, with B for Bond staying on top spot as the current scarcest A-Z 10p coin in circulation.

For many, this coin seems to be a firm favourite from the A-Z of Great Britain collection which was released in 2018, so it comes as no surprise that it has found its way to the top of the list.

P for Postbox is unfortunately bottom of the pile once again, although it’s worth remembering that all of these coins are considered sought-after and collectors fortunate enough to come across just one will be considering themselves lucky.

The biggest movers on the latest 10p index update are W for World Wide Web and S for Stonehenge, which have both moved up the index by 14 places.

S for Stonehenge actually dropped by 14 places in the previous index, so this could be the coin levelling back out again.

It will be interesting to see how the index changes as more collectors come across these coins and as we await the release of the 2019 mintage figures. We currently know that 220,000 of each design entered circulation in 2018 and a further 2.1 million coins overall were released in 2019, but exact figures for individual 2019 designs are currently unknown.

£2 Scarcity Index

Following the 2018 mintage figure reveal, we know that no £2 coins have entered circulation since 2016, so the £2 index continues to remain fairly stable with no new coins to add to the mix.

The top five coins are unchanged since the last index and it comes as no surprise that the Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 remains on the top spot, as this £2 has a mintage figure of just 485,500 and is considered incredibly sought-after amongst collectors.

All three Olympic themed £2 coins (Olympic Handover, Olympic Centenary and London 2012 Handover) also remain very close to the top of the index and I wonder if the Tokyo Olympics this year will affect the scarcity of these already very popular coins.

The biggest mover on the £2 index is the Florence Nightingale coin, which has moved up by six places, whilst the 60th Anniversary of World War Two coin has moved down by five places to the third from bottom space.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, it would be fantastic to see some new £2 coins entering circulation and how they might affect the £2 Scarcity Index. Fingers crossed they’ll be enough demand for these coins to enter circulation soon!

How your Scarcity Index works

Generally collectors have had to rely upon mintage figures to identify the scarcest coins.  But they only tell part of the story.  Trying to find a good quality coin from 15 – 20 years ago, even for a higher mintage issue, is much more challenging than a more recent issue, as coins become damaged over time and are ultimately removed from circulation.

Additionally, some designs are more hoarded than others by people who might not normally collect coins – the poignant First World War £2 Coin series being an example. Finally, it can be up to a couple of years before the Royal Mint eventually confirms the actual mintage for an issue.

That’s why we have combined the mintage information with two other key pieces of information.

  • How many of each design are listed as “collected” by Change Checkers, indicating the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
  • The number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous 3 months, showing the current level of collector demand.

Importantly, as new coins are released and popularity rises and falls across different designs the Scarcity Index will be updated quarterly allowing Change Checkers to track the relative performance of the UK’s circulation coins.

How much are my coins worth?

The Scarcity Index does not necessarily equate to value but it is certainly an effective indicator.  For example, the Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 200 times face value on eBay.

You can use the 6 point guide to help you determine a more realistic value for your coins.

What about £1 Coins?

The £1 Scarcity Index has already been published for the Round £1 coins and, because they are no longer being issued, this is now set in stone.


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app