Which Alan Turing £50 notes should you be looking out for?

On the day that would have been Alan Turing’s 109th birthday, The Bank of England have just issued their final banknote in the polymer series, celebrating the famous scientist and mathematician.

The Alan Turing £50 Polymer Banknote

The brand new £50 note is full of exciting design and security features, including:

  • photo of Turing from 1951 which is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection,
  • A design of Turing’s trial model of his famous Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine,
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe,
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code, and
  • A large see-through window depicting a metallic microchip image with clovers around the outside in dedication to Bletchley Park, where Turing conducted most of his work in WW2.

You can find out more of the exciting features on the UK’s first-ever polymer £50 note here >>

Or, you can watch our video below!


Keen collectors will be eager 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 this brand new £50 enters circulation, 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 £50 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 £50 – so make sure you keep your eyes out for them!

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, Bletchley Post Office was one of the first places to have the new £50 note today, in recognition of the the work done by Mr. Turing and his team at Bletchley Park.

Key dates to look out for

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

For example, 23 061912 represents Turing’s date of birth, whilst 07 061954 relates to his death and 19 121954 would be his birth and death combined.

Alan Turing Aged 16 – Credit: TuringArchive.org

True Turing fans might also look for 09 071941 representing the date that the enigma code was cracked by Turing and his team at Bletchley Park during WW2.

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.

To print enough banknotes to service the country’s 48,000 ATMs for example, it’s just not possible for the bank to separate certain serial numbers.

How much should I pay for a new £50 note?

The simple answer is, it’s completely up to you. An early serial numbered £50 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 £50 note still be legal tender?

You will still be able to use the paper £50 note until The Bank of England withdraw it from circulation on 30th September 2022.

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 £50 note?

Whilst not all cash points will offer the option to withdraw a £50 note, most banks should be able to provide you with one. It’s worth ringing your local bank in advance to check they have the new note before setting out to collect it.


Will you be looking out for any particular serial numbers? Let us know in the comments below!


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  • 2016 Sir Winston Churchill £5 Polymer Banknote
  • 2017 Jane Austen £10 Polymer Banknote
  • 2020 JMW Turner £20 Polymer Banknote
  • 2021 Alan Turing £50 Polymer Banknote

Within your collecting pack we’ve also included ID cards for each note, an information page about the new banknotes, and a Change Checker album.

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The History of the UK Banknote…

The UK banknotes have gone through some big changes since they were first introduced but do you know the story behind them?

In this blog, we guide you through the history of UK banknotes as we take a look at just how far they’ve come…

7th Century – China

The first recorded use of ‘paper’ money was in China back in the seventh century! However, it was until over a thousand years later that paper money made its way to Europe.

16th Century – Goldsmith-Bankers

In the 16th century, the goldsmith-bankers would issue receipts for cash, known as ‘running cash notes’. They were made out in the name of the depositor and also carried the words, ‘or bearer’, after the name of the depositor.

This similar phrase still appears on British banknotes today: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…”

1694 – Bank of England

When the Bank of England was established in 1694 to raise money for King William III’s war effort, they issued notes in exchange for deposits. These were the first recorded bank notes to feature a cashier’s signature!

18th Century – Fixed Denominations

The issuing of fixed denomination notes first started in the 18th century. Notes were printed with the pound sign and the first digit included, but any following digits were then added by hand!

By 1745, notes were issued in denominations ranging from £20 to £1,000 but it wasn’t until 1759, as a result of gold shortages caused by the seven years of war, that a £10 note was issued.

The £5 note followed in 1793 at the start of the war against Revolutionary France and by 1797 the £1 and £2 notes were issued.

1853- Fully Printed

In 1853, the first fully printed banknotes were introduced, meaning hand-written denominations on notes were phased out.

Early 20th Century – 10 Shilling Note

During the First World War, the link between notes and gold was broken. The government needed to preserve bullion stocks and so the Bank stopped paying out gold for its notes.

In 1914 the Treasury printed and issued 10 shilling and £1 notes and in 1931, Britain left the gold standard.

Late 20th Century – Feature of Historical Figures

The late 20th century saw the first introduction of historical figures on the designs of UK banknotes. Since 1970, we’ve seen figures including scientist Isaac Newton, composer Edward Elgar and nurse Florence Nightingale featured on our banknotes.

21st Century – Polymer notes and BAME figures

In the 21st century we have seen the introduction of the polymer £5, £10 and £20 banknote, as a cleaner, safer and stronger alternative to the paper notes.

These notes have become incredibly popular with collectors, with some polymer £20 notes fetching far over their face value on the secondary market!

However, a lack of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) figures being recognised on legal tender led to campaigning for greater inclusivity in 2020.

These campaigns come after Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated he was considering proposals from a campaign group. He has since asked the Royal Mint to come up withnew designs honouring BAME figures who have served the nation – such as military figures and nurses.

Whilst details of these figures and designs remain under consideration, we look forward to hearing more as the story unfolds.


Did you know how far back in history our banknotes date? Let us know in the comments below!


Secure the last-ever £1 banknote to your collection!

Click here to secure your piece of British Numismatic history for just £10 (+p&p) >>

How much is my polymer £20 note worth?

*** UPDATE ***

With the impact of Covid-19 meaning less people are using cash, it seems older, paper banknotes aren’t being cashed in! According to reports, 24.5 billion paper banknotes are still out there!

Whilst the paper £20 is technically still legal tender, the new polymer notes have been causing quite a stir in the collecting community.

Back in 2016, the first-ever polymer banknote was issued to replace the paper £5 note, with a cleaner, safer and stronger alternative.

Since then, we’ve seen the introduction of the polymer £10, featuring the portrait of Jane Austen and this year saw the issue of the polymer £20 note, featuring JMW Turner’s portrait.

2020 JMW Turner Polymer £20 Note

We’ve seen the £5 and £10 notes prove incredibly popular with collectors, with particular notes selling on eBay for way over face value!

But what makes a banknote collectable? Well… It’s all to do with serial numbers!

We previously listed the serial numbers that you should be looking out for on the Polymer £20 note, from AA01 to AK-47, and unsurprisingly, some are proving more popular than others, but which ones are likely to fetch the most on the secondary market?

Well, we’ve done the hard work for you by taking a look at which polymer £20 note serial numbers are selling for the most on eBay and which ones you should be looking out for.

How much is the polymer £20 worth?

‘Rare’ polymer £20 banknotes

Recurring numbers

If you’ve been lucky enough to find a £20 note with a series of recurring numbers, like the 777777 serial number, you may want to keep hold of it as we’ve seen some which are currently selling on eBay for around £400 – over 20 times its face value!

Serial number 777777. Credit: eBay

Similar serial numbers have sold for prices within the same range. The 333333 serial number also sold for £400, so it seems collectors everywhere are desperate to get their hands on a recurring number note!

Serial number 333333. Credit: eBay

Another type of serial number you should be keeping an eye out for, is a ‘ladder’. These are serial numbers that have consecutive numbers, like this ‘001122’ note.

Serial number 001122. Credit: eBay

One lucky collector got his hands on this note but at a hefty £529…  Other ladder numbers include ‘012345’ and these could currently fetch you a very respectful £350 on the secondary market!

AA numbers

As with previous polymer note issues, the lower serial numbers for the new £20 have proven popular with collectors, with the current average selling price for the AA notes coming in at £40! That’s two times the note’s face value!

Serial number: AA50. Credit: eBay

At the annual Bank of England charity auction held at Spink and Son Ltd in London the very first polymer note, the £5, with the serial number AA01 000017 auctioned for £4,150! However, this year, the £20 note with serial number AA01 000010 sold for a staggering £7,500, over FOUR times its starting price!

Serial number: AA01 000010 auction. Credit: Spink

AK47

Considered collectable due to the machine gun connotations, polymer notes with the prefix AK47 were thought to be worth well over face value following the new £5 release in 2016.

A quick look at the most recent eBay sold prices for this serial number, on the new £20 note, show that people are willing to pay £11 over its face value!

Serial number AK47. Credit: eBay

What about the £50 note?

The Bank of England will be issuing a new polymer £50 in 2021 featuring the scientist Alan Turing.

£50 Polymer Banknote Concept. Credit: Bank of England

We can’t wait to see the new polymer £50 when it’s issued!

So there we have it, the current selling prices for your polymer £20 notes! With less cash being used during the current climate and therefore less notes in circulation, it’s possible this has added to the collectability of these new polymer £20 notes.

Are you a banknote collector and if so, which notes do you have in your collection? Let us know in the comments below!


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