Ulster Bank has recently revealed plans to print an innovative, new design for vertical banknotes which will be entering circulation in Northern Ireland next year.

This turn of events breaks the mould for UK currency, with the Bank of England first issuing banknotes in 1694 to a landscape rather than portrait alignment.

Whilst the banks of Northern Ireland have traditionally issued their own money, only once before has a note like this ever been printed in the UK, during 1999 when The Northern Bank issued a vertical polymer note to mark the millennium.

It featured an illustration of the Space Shuttle on one side and stopped being issued in 2008 when they reverted to the standard landscape paper notes, however the note can still be used today. 

Northern Bank vertical polymer £5 note from 1999. Credit: polymernotes.com


Ulster Bank plans to follow in the steps of the Bank of England by replacing their current paper currency with polymer £5 and £10 notes.

However, this new design goes to the next level, not only updating the material but also changing the entire orientation of the note.

Northern Ireland’s new banknotes will be based on the theme “living in nature” with Strangford Lough in County Down and Brent Geese featuring on the £5 note and Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, the Irish hare and Guelder-rose shrubs featuring on the £10.


New vertical Northern Ireland Banknote to enter circulation next year. Credit BBC News


Switzerland’s first vertical banknotes entered circulation in 1995 and for the past two years have won the “Bank Note of the Year Award” as voted for by members of The International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

Earlier this year Canada introduced their first ever vertical banknotes, hoping to create more space for a bigger image and to set it apart from existing polymer bills. Their 10 dollar note is currently nominated for Banknote of the Year 2018.

Bermuda, Israel, Venezuela, Argentina and Cape Verde are among other countries to use vertical banknotes in their currency.

These banknotes may be easier to use at cash and vending machines and may make it clearer to see the notes in your wallet, but what are your thought on this change in design and would you like the Bank of England to follow suit? Let us know in the comments below!


Credit: theibns.org


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As part of the Great One Pound Coin Race, we want to find out Britain’s ultimate favourite £1 coin.

Over the last couple of months we’ve been asking Change Checkers to vote for their favourite UK, Scottish, Northern Irish, Welsh and English £1 coin designs.

Now this is the last poll left to vote in until we find out which £1 coin is Britain’s all-time favourite design.

Please vote for your favourite £1 coin from the finalists in the below poll:

[polldaddy poll=”9721785″]


n-i-one-pound-coinsAs part of the Great One Pound Coin Race, we want to find out Britain’s ultimate favourite £1 coin.

Last week we asked you to vote for your favourite Scottish £1 coin design – over 30% of Change Checkers voted for the 2011 Edinburgh £1.

This week we want to know your favourite Northern Irish £1 coin design.

Let us know by voting in our poll below:

[polldaddy poll=”9682178″]

More information about the Northern Ireland £1 coin designs

N.I: Flax

The N.I Flax £1 was issued in 1986 and 1991.


The first reverse design series of £1 coins took floral emblems as its theme to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries. They were designed by Leslie Durbin – one of the most highly-regarded silversmiths of the 20th Century. The Flax plant is used on this coin to represent Northern Ireland.


N.I: Celtic Cross

The N.I Celtic Cross £1 was issued in 1996 and 2001.


The second series of £1 coin designs used heraldic emblems to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries. This coin features the Broighter collar over a Celtic Cross to represent Northern Ireland. The Broighter collar was discovered in 1896 amongst a hoard of gold Iron Age artefacts near Lough Foyle in Northern Ireland, and is said to be the finest example of Irish La Tène goldworking in Europe.


N.I: Egyptian Railway Arch Bridge

The N.I Egyptian Railway Arch Bridge £1 was issued in 2006.

The third series of £1 coin designs depicts bridges from each of the four consituent countries in the United Kingdom. This coin features the Egyptian Arch Railway Bridge to represent Northern Ireland. The Egyptian Arch is a railway bridge in Newry, Northern Ireland which gained its name from its resemblance to the headdress worn by ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.


N.I: Belfast City

The Belfast City £1 was issued in 2010


The fourth series of £1 coins used the capital cities of the four constituent countries as the basis of the reverse design. Designed by Stuart Devlin, Goldsmith and Jeweller to the Queen, this coin depicts the circular Coat of Arms of Belfast as the principal focus to represent Northern Ireland.


N.I: Flax and Shamrock

The Flax and Shamrock £1 was issued in 2014


The fifth series of £1 coin designs uses pairs of floral emblems designed by Timothy Noad to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries. This coin features a flax alongside a shamrock to represent Northern Ireland.

Next week- Part 4: What’s your favourite Welsh £1 coin design?

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