Tax & admin · 14 November 2017

Deadline for spending old 10 notes announced (and how to spot a fake)

The new polymer 10 note was introduced with a line of security features to prevent counterfeiting
The new polymer 10 note was introduced with a line of security features to prevent counterfeiting
After 17 years in circulation, old paper 10 notes featuring the face of Charles Darwin must be spent or exchanged by Thursday 1 March 2018, the Bank of England has confirmed.

Having introduced the new polymer 10 notes, depicting the face of author Jane Austen, on 14 September 2017, business owners have now been given a deadline for which the old note will cease to be legal tender.

The Darwin note was first issued on 7 November 2000, but questions around durability and the ease of which it could be faked led to the introduction of a plastic polymer design.

However, leftover old 10 notes will still be accepted for exchange by the Bank of England after March 2018, and by the discretion of banks and building societies.

After the polymer edition entered circulation, the Bank of England published guidance on its security features to help business owners spot a fake.

How to spot a fraudulent polymer 10 note

  1. See-through window?
The Queen’s portrait should be clearly see-through, with the words 10 Bank of England? printed twice around the edge?

  1. Foil patches
Below the see-through window is a silver foil patch. When titled, the word Ten? changes to Pounds. Above the window is a 3D coronation crown which turns multi-coloured when tilted.?

  1. Raised print
Due to the note’s thin plastic material, raised print can be felt by running your finger along the words Bank of England, in the bottom right corner and around the number ten.

  1. Print quality?
The printed lines and colours on the note are sharp and clear, without any smudges or blurred edges.?

  1. Micro lettering?
The value of the note can be seen underneath the Queen’s portrait by using a magnifying glass.

  1. Ultra-violet feature
Using a good quality ultra-violet light, you can see the number ten appear in bright red and green, while the background remains dark.



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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