First Trust Bank, one of four main banks in Northern Ireland, will become the first Northern Ireland-based bank to end the practice of printing its own-denomination banknotes. The bank revealed it will scrap its own banknotes next year and switch to dispensing Bank of England notes from its ATM network.
Although the UK has a vast variety of different notes in circulation, The Bank of England is the only bank to issue notes for England and Wales, while there are seven different banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland that currently produce their own notes.
The decision is thought to be an economic issue and means that all existing First Trust banknotes will not be able to be used for payments from midnight on 30th June 2022. They can however be exchanged for Bank of England banknotes, or other sterling banknotes of equivalent value at Post Offices up until 30th June 2024.
Why do Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own banknotes?
The UK has a vast variety of different notes in circulation and although those of us living in England and Wales don’t see many, there are three different banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland that currently produce their own notes.
In fact the tradition of printing banknotes was considered the norm centuries ago as most of the UK’s banks produced their own banknotes. However over time they weren’t all doing it responsibly and were not able to back the notes up with actual assets. The law changed in the 1840’s in England and Wales so all production of banknotes was moved to The Bank of England bar Scotland who argued for an exception as they were not having the same issues. The Bank Notes Act of 1928 allowed banks in Northern Ireland to produce their own notes.
For people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the banknotes are part of the furniture and a part of their cultural identity that usually feature local landmarks and historical figures. These issuing banks have also considered the notes as part of their marketing as customers are seeing the name of their banks in their hands as they spend cash.
Can you spend Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes in England?
Yes. The notes are legal currency and backed with physical assets with the Bank of England so can technically be accepted anywhere in the UK. However, the problems come as shops are not always overly familiar with all the different types of notes and may not be sure on how to check them for counterfeiting so don’t like to accept them.
Is this the beginning of the end for Northern Irish and Scottish banknotes?
The decision is scrap the printing of banknotes at First Trust Bank is thought to be an economic issue and comes as other Northern Ireland banks prepare for the change over to modern Polymer notes in the very near future. The update is needed in order to produce counterfeit resilient notes to protect against forgery and ensure the security of circulating notes. But this costly change could be too much for First Trust handle.
There are also a lot fewer of these notes changing hands and with the increasing use of digital payment methods and mobile technology, it could be the reasoning behind the decision to scrap the notes.
The other three Northern Irish banks are currently in various stages of issuing their own polymer £5, £10 and £20 notes and it is clear that Scotland are completely committed to keeping their own notes as Clydesdale Bank was the first bank in the UK to issue a Polymer note back in 2015.
The UK’s RAREST 50p coin in circulation will be re-issued by The Royal Mint in 2019 it has been confirmed.
According to the Royal Proclamation, published on 8 November, a total of TEN new 50p coins will be issued in 2019, all of which will be re-issues of previous designs.
The coins to be re-issued comprise:
- Britannia 50p – the figure of Britannia, seated beside a lion, with a shield resting against her right side, holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand; and the figure “50” together with the words “NEW PENCE”;
- D-Day Landings 50p– a design representing the D-Day landings of the Allied invasion force heading for Normandy and filling the sea and sky, with the inscription “50 PENCE”;
- Roger Bannister 50p – the legs of a running athlete with a stylized stopwatch in the background and, with the inscription “50 PENCE”;
- Victoria Cross Medal 50p – a depiction of the obverse and reverse of a Victoria Cross with the date “29. JAN 1856” in the centre of the reverse of the Cross, with the inscription “VC” “FIFTY PENCE”;
- Victoria Cross Soldier 50p – a depiction of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade with an outline of the Victoria Cross surrounded by a sunburst effect in the background with the inscription “FIFTY PENCE” ;
- Boy Scouts 50p – a fleur-de-lis superimposed over a globe and accompanied by the inscription “BE PREPARED” and the dates “∙ 1907 ∙” and “∙ 2007 ∙”, and the denomination “FIFTY PENCE”;
- Kew Gardens 50p – a design showing the pagoda, a building strongly associated with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates “1759” and “2009”, with the word “KEW” at the base of the pagoda;
- Battle of Hastings 50p – a design showing the scene from the Bayeux tapestry depicting King Harold with an arrow in his eye accompanied by the inscription “BATTLE OF HASTINGS 1066” and the date “2016”;
- Battle of Britain 50p – a design showing airmen running to their planes with enemy aircraft overhead accompanied by the inscription “THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN 1940”;
- Girl Guides 50p – a design which depicts a repeating pattern of the current identity of Girlguiding UK, accompanied by the inscription “CELEBRATING ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF GIRLGUIDING UK” and the denomination “50 PENCE”.
It’s expected the coins will be issued in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 50p with commemorative collector’s editions in Cupro-Nickel, Silver and Gold being made available. It is not yet clear whether any of the new 50ps will be issued for circulation.
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The UK’s incredibly popular Snowman 50p coin is to be followed up by a brand new Gruffalo 50p coin.
*** UPDATE ***
The Royal Mint have now announced that this highly anticipated coin will be available to order from the 19th of February! With just over a week to go, we can’t wait to finally see the Gruffalo 50p!
According to the Royal Proclamation, published on 9 November there will be a new coin:
– A depiction of the Gruffalo accompanied by the inscription “THE GRUFFALO”.
The coin will be issued in 2019 to celebrate 20 years of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, with commemorative collector’s editions in Cupro-Nickel and Silver being made available. It is not yet clear whether this coin will be issued for circulation.
The next 50p collecting craze?
Although all the details have not been released yet and the actual design is still top secret, it seems likely that the Gruffalo 50p coin will be as popular with the British public as Peter Rabbit and friends have proved over the last three years.
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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
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app