New £20: Polymer replaces paper in most secure note yet

The note entered circulation today

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A new £20 note made of polymer rather than traditional paper has been hailed as the most secure banknote yet as it entered circulation today.

The bill features two see-through windows and a two-colour foil that the Bank of England said will prevent counterfeiters from forging it.

The £5 and £10 notes already exist in polymer form.

The new £20 will also display a self-portrait of 19th century painter JMW Turner, replacing economist Adam Smith who was the face of the former paper version.

The renowned artist produced more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 sketches and drawings.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveils the new note featuring JMW Turner

Turner's signature will also appear on the note, along with the quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by him referring to the use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.

Speaking at the gallery, which houses the Turner Bequest, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK's extraordinarily rich and diverse heritage and highlight the contributions of its greatest citizens. Turner's art was transformative.”

Other features include a metallic hologram which changes between the word “twenty” and “pounds” and a purple foil patch containing the letter “T” which is based on the staircase at Tate Britain.

The Bank of England said it expects half of all cash machines across the UK to be dispensing polymer £20 banknotes within two weeks.

The paper £20 notes can still be used as normal and the Bank will give six months’ notice ahead of their legal tender status being withdrawn.

There are over two billion £20 notes in circulation.

Read more

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