The Bank of England has issued the first batch of the new polymer five pound notes which have the portrait of the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the back.
The five pound notes, which were released to the general public last week, are said to fetching more than £300 on popular auction sites such as eBay.
This is because collectors of low serial numbers are prepared to pay several times more than the face value of the note in order to get a rare number.
But what should you be looking out for if you happen to get one of the new polymer five pounds?
The first batch off the presses have the serial number which starts AA01, it is then followed by a six-digit number. Obviously the lower the number the higher the value at auction. The very first note off the press with the number AA01 000001 was given to the Queen. There are now 999,999 new five pound notes with this AA01 prefix.
The Bank of England has decided to start phasing out paper five pound notes and replace them with polymer ones because they last longer and the security details are much better.
The Bank of England say that the new five pound note has a range of security features, including a see-through window with a portrait of the Queen. The border of this window changes from purple to green when the note is tilted. There is a gold foil image of Big Ben on the front which is in silver on the back. There are also tiny micro-letters hidden under the Queen’s portrait which are only visible under a microscope, and the words Bank of England appear in raised ink.
These features are designed to make the note increasingly more difficult to counterfeit.
Another thing the public will notice is that the notes are a little smaller than the old paper ones, in fact they are 15% smaller.
The new five pounds currently feature Winston Churchill and the words from his first speech to parliament in 1940: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
In 2017 novelist Jane Austin will appear on the back of the new £10 note and from 2020 artist JMW Turner will appear on the first £20 note. These new notes will also be made from the new polymer material and have additional security features.
On October 3rd, the bank of England will be auctioning off some of the lowest and rarest serial numbers from the first batch for charity. The lowest number they have for auction is AA01 000017, which is expected to reach between £800 and £1,200.
To check your serial number, go to the back of your five pound note and look at the bottom right hand side or on the left between the words Bank of England and five pounds.