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Periods: United Kingdom

Currency of United Kingdom

The first recorded use of something close to a banknote in the United Kingdom can be traced to the16th century CE to the goldsmith bankers who gave a receipt for the cash deposit of gold coins. These receipts were known as the ‘running cash notes’. In 1694, the Bank of England was established to raise money for the war efforts of King William II against France. The bank started issuing notes in return for deposits. This first UK currency note was initially handwritten on bank-paper and signed by one of its cashiers. Today the entire United Kingdom banknotes carry the signature of its Chief Cashier.

In 1969, the face value of UK banknote was more than £50. Till 18th Century came, the need of a steady denomination became more significant. Due to this partially printed UK notes was introduced in 1725. Later in 1745, United Kingdom paper money had denominations in between £20 to £1000. The UK currency history saw its turning point when the £10 note was issued for the first time in 1759 due to the shortage of gold metal caused by the Seven Years War. To follow the first issued trend on the timeline of British banknotes £5 note was introduced in the face of the war against Revolutionary France in 1793. Later on, United Kingdom notes also witness the arrival of new smaller denominations like £1 and £2.

United Kingdom’s currency history added a new chapter when its first fully printed note appeared in 1853, bearing the phrase "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of...” which remains unchanged to this day. In the latter half of the 20th century white £5 note was replaced by the ‘Helmeted Britannia series B’. This series B notes lasted till 1964 and later portrait series C notes with Queen’s Portrait were printed.

The pictorial series D notes were introduced after an interval of 10 years. The UK currency history saw the introduction major series in 1990 which illustrated a mature portrait of the HM Queen Elizabeth II with other famous personality. This series also saw the signature of the First female cashier Merlyn Lowther.

Queen Elizabeth II was not the first monarch to have her portrait on the UK notes. George II, George III and George IV appeared on early Royal Bank of Scotland notes. The treasury notes illustrated the portrait of George V.

Finally, the new revised series E was circulated in the 21st century, which consists of denominations like £5, £10 and £20. In March 2007, the first note entered the circulation from the New Series F. This website will offer you abundant of information on the UK banknotes. The different phases of the UK currency that are recorded on this platform will help you to develop a good collection.