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 brand new £50 note is full of exciting design and security features, including:
- A 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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Store, Protect, and Present YOUR Polymer Notes with the Polymer Banknote Collecting Pack!
The Change Checker Polymer Banknote Collecting Pack has space to securely house all four of England’s polymer banknotes, including:
- 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.
With the release of the final £50 polymer banknote in 2021 and the completion of the Bank of England’s polymer banknote update, now really is the perfect time to start collecting!
In their search to find a suitable candidate to feature on Britain’s new polymer £50 note, the Bank of England has received over 175,000 nominations, including the late Baroness and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Some 800 of the names put forward are actually eligible to become the new face of the £50 note, with the Bank of England requiring the notable person to be real, deceased and have contributed in some way to UK science.
So does Margaret Thatcher fit the bill?
Most famed as Britain’s first female Prime Minister and the UK’s longest-serving leader of the 20th century during her time as Conservative Party leader from 1979 until 1990, what many people may not know is that Margaret Thatcher’s early career was actually in the field of science, as she worked as a research chemist.
In fact, for a period of time she worked for J Lyons, creating emulsifiers for ice-cream and developing the much-loved soft scoop!
However, it was during her later political career that people started to think of Maggie as cold and frosty, as her nickname ‘The Iron Lady’ suggests. Her uncompromising political style made her one of the most controversial political figures in British history.
Considering her degree in chemistry and following her famous work with ice-cream, you can certainly agree that she has contributed to the UK field of science, but would you like to see her on the new polymer £50 note?
The Bank of England has published a list of names nominated in the first week of the selection process, as a preliminary stage of identifying eligible names for consideration.
Initial speculation seems to favour Professor Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace and Rosalind Franklin as suggestions for the new note, however other more unusual names also made the list, including Will Hay (comedy actor/amateur astronomer) and Roger Bannister (first runner to achieve a four-minute mile).
You have up until the 14th of December to continue nominating characters via The Bank of England’s website. We don’t yet know when the chosen notable person will be announced or when the new note will be released, other than it will be after the new £20 polymer note featuring JMW Turner which will be released in 2020.
So would you like to see Margaret Thatcher on the new polymer £50 note? Change Checkers voted in our poll on Facebook and the results are in:
It’s clear that Maggie isn’t a favourite to feature on the new £50 note, but who from the scientific community would you like to see on the note? 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
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app