Amazing Banknotes Showcased at the Bank of England Museum

2019-07-05 Fri

The Bank of England is celebrating its 325th anniversary and the bank’s museum is exhibiting 325 historical items including some amazing banknotes. One of them is a one hundred million pound note that was issued in 2018 exclusively for internal accounting. It represents money held at the Bank for other note issuers like the Scottish and Northern Irish issuing banks.

Another interesting item on display is a design created for Jacobite banknotes by engraver Robert Strange in 1745. Robert Strange was asked to make printing plates for Jacobite banknotes by Charles Edward Stuart. These notes were used to pay Jacobite expenses during the revolt. However, the printing plate and banknotes were left unused and abandoned after the Battle of Culloden. They were eventually discovered again in the 1920s.

The museum also exhibits an interesting banknote forgery which appeared for the first time at the Bank in 1858. When a customer tried to get it exchanged for gold, it was returned as a forgery. Another person tried to remove the ‘FORGED’ stamp and get it exchanged for gold once again in 1898. After that, it was seized and preserved safely as a part of the Bank’s collections.

A £40 banknote issued in 1702 for Elizabeth Head is another exciting item to admire at the exhibition. These notes were printed only partly. Other details such as value, date, number etc were hand-written. It’s the earliest note where the payee is a woman, Elizabeth Head. £40 was a big amount back in those days and was never used for day-to-day transactions.

Image Courtesy: The Bank of England