Banknotes of the pound sterling

Banknotes of the pound sterling
Banknotes of the pound sterling
Pound sterling banknotes The British Islands
Pound sterling banknotes The British Islands
ISO 4217 code GBP
User(s)  United Kingdom
 Isle of Man
 Falkland Islands
 Saint Helena
1/100 penny
Symbol £
penny p
Freq. used £5, £10, £20, £50
Rarely used £1 (Scot., Jersey, Guernsey, IoM only), £100 (Scot. & N. Ireland only)

higher values exist such as £100,000,000 (Titan) bank note, however, usage is restricted[1]

Central bank Bank of England
Printer Issuing banks:

English (inc.Wales) notes:

Bank of England

Scottish notes:

Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
Clydesdale Bank

Northern Irish notes:

Northern Bank
First Trust Bank
Ulster Bank
Bank of Ireland

Crown dependencies:

States of Guernsey
States of Jersey
Isle of Man Government

Note printer:

De La Rue

Sterling banknotes are the banknotes in circulation in the British Islands (encompassing the United Kingdom and the British Crown dependencies), denominated in pounds sterling (symbol: £; ISO 4217 currency code GBP). One pound is equivalent to 100 pence.

The pound is the official currency of the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies of Britain. Three British Overseas Territories also have currencies called pounds which are at par with the pound sterling.

In most countries of the world the issue of banknotes is handled exclusively by a single central bank or government, but in the United Kingdom seven retail banks have the right to print their own banknotes in addition to the Bank of England; sterling banknote issue is thus not automatically tied in with one national identity or the activity of the state. The arrangements in the UK are unusual but not unique, as a comparable system is used in Hong Kong, where three banks issue their own banknotes in addition to the Hong Kong government.



Until the middle of the 19th century, privately owned banks in Great Britain and Ireland were free to issue their own banknotes and money issued by provincial English,[2][3][4] Welsh,[5] Scottish[6] and Irish banking companies circulated freely as a means of payment. As gold shortages affected the supply of money, note-issuing powers of the banks were gradually restricted by various Acts of Parliament,[7] until the Bank Charter Act 1844 gave exclusive note-issuing powers to the central Bank of England. Under the Act, no new banks could start issuing notes and note-issuing banks gradually vanished through mergers and closures. The last private English banknotes were issued in 1921 by Fox, Fowler and Company, a Somerset bank.[7]

However, some of the monopoly provisions of the Bank Charter Act only applied to England and Wales.[8] The Bank Notes (Scotland) Act was passed the following year, and to this day, three retail banks retain the right to issue their own sterling banknotes in Scotland, and four in Northern Ireland.[9][10] Notes issued in excess of the value of notes outstanding in 1844 (1845 in Scotland) must be backed up by an equivalent value of Bank of England notes.[11]

Following the Partition of Ireland, the Irish Free State created an Irish pound in 1928; the new currency was pegged to sterling until 1979. The issue of banknotes for the Irish pound fell under the authority of the Currency Commission of Ireland, who set about replacing the private banknotes with a single Consolidated Banknote Issue in 1928.[12] In 1928 a Westminster act of parliament reduced the fiduciary limit for Irish banknotes circulating in Northern Ireland to take account of the reduced size of the territory concerned.

Key dates

The following events and acts of parliament affected the course of banknote history in Great Britain and Ireland:


Year Event Countries Impact
1694 Bank of England Act 1694 England & Wales Incorporation of the Bank of England[7]
1695 An Act creating the Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland Scotland Creation of the Bank of Scotland, principally as a trading bank[13]
1696 First banknotes issued by the Bank of Scotland Scotland The first notes in pounds sterling issued[14]
1707 Acts of Union 1707

England & Wales

English and Scottish parliaments merged into the Parliament of Great Britain

1708 1709

Bank of England Act 1708
Bank of England Act 1709
England & Wales Prohibition of companies or partnerships of more than six people to set up banks and issue notes, preventing smaller banks from printing their own money[7]
1727 Chartering of the Royal Bank of Scotland Scotland Broke the monopoly of the Bank of Scotland, initiated the banking war when the Royal Bank attempted to drive the Bank of Scotland out of business by stockpiling and then presenting its notes for payment.
1800 Act of Union 1800 Great Britain & Ireland British and Irish parliaments merged into the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland
1826 Country Bankers Act 1826 England & Wales Allowed joint stock banks with more than six partners which were at least 65 miles away from London to print their own money. Bank of England allowed to open branches in major English provincial cities, enabling wider distribution of its notes.[7]

Bank Notes Act 1826
Bankers (Scotland) Act 1826

England & Wales
Prohibition of circulation of notes under £5 in England. Attempts to apply this law in Scotland fail after a protest by Sir Walter Scott, and the Scottish £1 note is saved.[9]
1833 Bank Notes Act 1833 England & Wales Gave Bank of England notes official status as "legal tender" for all sums above £5 in England and Wales to guarantee public confidence in the notes even in the event of a gold shortage.[7]
1844 Bank Charter Act 1844 UK Took away the note-issuing rights of any new banks; existing note-issuing banks barred from expanding their issue. Began process of giving Bank of England monopoly over banknote issue in England and Wales.[7]
1845 Bank Notes (Scotland) Act 1845 Scotland Regulated issue of notes in Scotland; most Scottish banknotes had to be backed up by Bank of England money[9]
1908 Bank closure Wales The last private note issuer in Wales, the North and South Wales Bank, loses its note-issuing rights under the 1844 act after it is acquired by Midland Bank.
1914 Currency and Bank Notes Act 1914 UK HM Treasury given temporary wartime powers for issuing banknotes to the value of £1 and 10/- (ten shillings) in the UK (ended 1928)
1921 Bank closure England The last private note issuer in England, Fox, Fowler and Company of Somerset, loses its note-issuing rights under the 1844 act after it is acquired by Lloyds Bank.[7]
1928 Irish pound established Ireland Following Partition of Ireland, Irish pound is established as a separate currency (but at parity with sterling until 1979); Northern Ireland remains within sterling
1954 Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954 UK Extended the Bank Notes Act 1833 to make Bank of England notes under £5 in value legal tender; act also applied to Scotland, making English 10/- and £1 legal tender for the first time. Bank of England withdrew low-denomination notes in 1969 and 1988, removing legal tender from Scotland.
2008 Banking Act 2009 UK As a consequence of the Financial Crisis of 2007-08, this Bill altered the rules governing the issue of private banknotes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and requires commercial issuing banks to hold backing assets to protect the value of their notes in the event of commercial failure of the bank.

Everyday use and acceptance

The wide variety of sterling notes in circulation means that acceptance of different pound sterling banknotes varies. Their acceptance may depend on the experience and understanding of individual retailers, and it is important to understand the idea of "legal tender", which is often misunderstood (see section below). Misunderstanding that all bills are legitimate and of equal value, and can be accepted by merchants anywhere, has become a tourism headache in some parts of the UK.

In summary, the various banknotes are used as follows:

English banknotes (Bank of England)
The majority of sterling notes are printed by the Bank of England. These are legal tender in England and Wales, and accepted throughout the UK.[15] However since 2005, cash machines in Jersey no longer dispense English notes. Bank of England notes are generally accepted in the Overseas Territories which are at parity with sterling. In Gibraltar, there are examples of pairs of automatic cash dispensers placed together, one stocked with English notes, the other with local ones.
Scottish banknotes
These are the recognised currency in Scotland, but are not legal tender. They are always accepted by traders in Scotland, and often in other parts of the United Kingdom. However, some people outside Scotland are unfamiliar with the notes and they are sometimes refused.[16] Institutions such as clearing banks, building societies and the Post Office will readily accept Scottish bank notes. Branches of the Scottish note-issuing banks situated in England dispense Bank of England notes and may not dispense their own notes from those branches.[17] Modern Scottish banknotes are denominated in pounds sterling, and are exactly the same value as Bank of England notes; they should not be confused with the former Pound Scots, a separate currency which was abolished in 1707.
Northern Ireland banknotes
Banknotes issued by Northern Ireland banks have the same legal status as Scottish banknotes in that they are promissory notes issued in pounds sterling and may be used for cash transactions anywhere in the United Kingdom. However, they are rarely seen outside Northern Ireland and in England and Wales, although they could be accepted by any store, are often not accepted without some explanation.[18] As with Scottish notes, clearing banks and building societies will accept them. Northern Ireland sterling banknotes should not be confused with the Irish pound (or Punt), the former currency of the Republic of Ireland, which was replaced by the euro in 1999.
Banknotes from the Crown dependencies
The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are possessions of the Crown but are outside the UK; they are in currency union with the United Kingdom and issue sterling banknotes in local designs (Jersey and Guernsey pounds are freely interchangeable within the Channel Islands). In the United Kingdom, although they could be accepted by any store, are often not accepted without some explanation. However, they are accepted by banks and post offices and can exchange these notes for other sterling banknotes.
British Overseas Territories
There are fourteen British Overseas Territories many of which issue their own currencies which are distinct under ISO 4217; Gibraltar, Saint Helena and the Falkland Islands have their own pounds which are at par with Sterling. These notes cannot be used in the UK or outside the territories of origin. Falkland Island Pounds are also commonly used in the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Territory. St Helena pounds can also be used on Ascension Island.

The question of legal tender

The concept of "legal tender" is a narrow technical definition that refers to the settlement of debt, and it has little practical meaning in everyday transactions such as buying goods in shops (but does apply, for example, to the settling of a restaurant bill, where the food has been eaten prior to demand for payment and so a debt exists). Essentially, any two parties can agree to any item of value as a medium for exchange when making a purchase (in that sense, all money is ultimately an extended form of barter). If a debt exists that is legally enforceable and the debtor party offers to pay with some item that is not "legal tender," the creditor may refuse such payment and declare that the debtor is in default of payment; if the debtor offers payment in legal tender, the creditor is required to accept it or else the creditor is in breach of contract. Thus, if in England party A owes party B 1,000 pounds sterling and offers to pay in Northern Ireland banknotes, party B may refuse and sue party A for nonpayments; if party A provides Bank of England notes, party B must acknowledge the debt as legally paid even if party B would prefer some other form of payment.

Banknotes do not have to be classed as legal tender to be acceptable for trade; millions of retail transactions are carried out in the UK using cheques, or debit or credit cards, none of which is a payment using legal tender. Equally, traders may choose to accept payment in foreign currency, such as euro, yen or US dollar. Acceptability as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved.[15][19]

Millions of pounds' worth of sterling banknotes in circulation are not legal tender, but that does not mean that they are illegal or of lesser value; their status is of "legal currency" (that is to say that their issue is approved by the parliament of the UK) and they are backed up by Bank of England securities.[20]

Bank of England notes are the only banknotes that are legal tender in England and Wales. Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are not legal tender anywhere, and Jersey, Guernsey and Manx banknotes are only legal tender in their respective jurisdictions. The fact that these banknotes are not legal tender in the UK does not however mean that they are illegal under English law, and creditors and traders may accept them if they so choose. Traders may, on the other hand, choose not to accept banknotes as payment as contract law across the United Kingdom allows parties not to engage in a transaction at the point of payment if they choose not to.[16]

In Scotland and Northern Ireland no banknotes, not even ones issued in those countries, are legal tender.[9] They have a similar legal standing to cheques or debit cards, in that their acceptability as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved, although Scots law requires any reasonable offer for settlement of a debt to be accepted.

Until 1988, the Bank of England issued one pound notes, and these notes did have legal tender status in Scotland and Northern Ireland while they existed. The Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954 defined Bank of England notes of less than £5 in value as legal tender in Scotland.[21] Since the English £1 note was removed from circulation in 1988, this leaves a legal curiosity in Scots law whereby there is no paper legal tender in Scotland. The UK Treasury has proposed extending legal tender status to Scottish banknotes.[22] The proposal has been opposed by Scottish nationalists who claim it would reduce the independence of the Scottish banking sector.[23]

Most of the notes issued by the note-issuing banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland have to be backed by Bank of England notes held by the issuing bank. The combined size of these banknote issues is well over a billion pounds. To make it possible for the note-issuing banks to hold equivalent values in Bank of England notes, the Bank of England issues special notes with denominations of one million pounds ("Giants") and one hundred million pounds ("Titans") for internal use by the other banks.

Bank notes are no longer redeemable in gold and the Bank of England will only redeem sterling banknotes for more sterling banknotes or coins. The contemporary sterling is a fiat currency which is backed only by securities; in essence IOUs from the Treasury that represent future income from the taxation of the population. Some economists term this 'currency by trust' as sterling relies on the faith of the user rather than any physical specie.

Issuing banks and authorities

The following table lays out the various banks or authorities which are authorised to print pound sterling banknotes, organised by territory:

United Kingdom
England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Crown dependencies
The Isle of Man Bailiwick of Jersey Bailiwick of Guernsey
British Overseas Territories
Gibraltar Saint Helena Falkland Islands
government = notes issued by a government or treasury
central bank = notes issued by a central bank
retail bank = notes issued by a retail bank

England and Wales

Bank of England notes

A Series E (revised) £10 Bank of England note.
Banknote printing facility in Loughton.[24]

In 1921 the Bank of England gained a legal monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales, a process that started with the Bank Charter Act of 1844 when the ability of other banks to issue notes was restricted.

The bank issued its first banknotes in 1694, although before 1745 they were written for irregular amounts, rather than predefined multiples of a pound. It tended to be times of war, which put inflationary pressure on the British economy, that led to greater note issue. In 1759, during the Seven Years' War, when the lowest-value note issued by the Bank was £20, a £10 note was issued for the first time. In 1793, during the war with revolutionary France, the Bank issued the first £5 note. Four years later, £1 and £2 notes appeared, although not on a permanent basis. Notes did not become entirely machine-printed and payable to the bearer until 1855.

At the start of the First World War, the government issued £1 and 10-shilling Treasury notes to supplant the sovereign and half-sovereign gold coins. The first coloured banknotes were issued in 1928, and were also the first notes to be printed on both sides. The Second World War saw a reversal in the trend of warfare creating more notes when, in order to combat forgery, higher denomination notes (at the time as high as £1,000) were removed from circulation.

All Bank of England notes issued since Series C in 1960 depict Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side, in full view facing left; her image also appears as a hidden watermark, facing right; recent issues have the EURion constellation around.

The custom of depicting historical figures on the reverse began with William Shakespeare on the Series D £20 note in 1970. Since then, many other figures have featured on successive issues.

Current issue
Bank of England notes since series D
Series D
Value Reverse portrait Issued Withdrawn
£1 Isaac Newton 9 February 1978 11 March 1988
£5 Duke of Wellington 11 November 1971 29 November 1991
£10 Florence Nightingale 20 February 1975 20 May 1994
£20 William Shakespeare 9 July 1970 19 March 1993
£50 Christopher Wren 20 March 1981 20 September 1996
Series E
£5 George Stephenson 7 June 1990 21 November 2003
£10 Charles Dickens 29 April 1992 31 July 2003
£20 Michael Faraday 5 June 1991 28 February 2001
£50 John Houblon 20 April 1994 in use
Series E (Revision)
£5 Elizabeth Fry 21 May 2002 in use
£10 Charles Darwin 7 November 2000 in use
£20 Edward Elgar 22 June 1999 30 June 2010
Series F
£20 Adam Smith 13 March 2007 in use
£50 Matthew Boulton and James Watt 2 November 2011 in use

As of July 2010 the Bank of England banknotes in circulation are mixed series. Most notes are of the revised Series E, although the Houblon £50 note, which is part of the original Series E, remains in circulation. On 13 March 2007, the Bank of England issued a new 20 pound note depicting Adam Smith. This is the first note from the new Series F.

The notes currently in circulation are as follows:

Series F

The launch of the new Series F banknotes was announced on 29 October 2006 by the Governor of the Bank of England. The first of these new notes, a £20 note, drew some commentary because it features the Scottish economist, Adam Smith, the first Scot to appear on an English note. Smith also features on £50 notes issued by the Clydesdale Bank. Previous issues of Bank of England £20 notes were known to have suffered from a higher incidence of counterfeiting (276,000 out of 290,000 cases detected in 2007) than any other denominations.[25] The note, which also includes enhanced security features entered circulation on 13 March 2007.[26]

The current £50 note will be replaced on 2 November 2011 by the first Bank of England banknote to feature two Britons on the reverse – James Watt and Matthew Boulton.[27]

All the Series F £20 notes are signed by the Chief Cashier, Andrew Bailey and the Series F £50 notes are signed by Chris Salmon.

Previous issues

The Bank of England Series D one pound note was discontinued in 1984, having been replaced by a pound coin the year before, and was officially withdrawn from circulation in 1988. Nonetheless, all banknotes, regardless of when they were withdrawn from circulation may be presented at the Bank of England where they will be exchanged for current banknotes. Other banks may also decide to exchange old banknotes, but they are not under an obligation to do so.

High-value notes

Higher-value notes are used within the banks – particularly the £1 million and £100 million notes used to maintain parity with Scottish and Northern Irish notes. Banknotes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks have to be backed by Bank of England notes (other than a small amount representing the currency in circulation in 1845), and special million pound notes are used for this purpose. These resemble simple IOUs and bear no aesthetic design features.[28]


There are no Welsh banknotes in circulation; Bank of England notes are used throughout Wales. The last Welsh banknotes were withdrawn in 1908 upon the closure of the last Welsh bank, the North and South Wales Bank.[29] An attempt was made in 1969 by a Welsh banker to revive Welsh banknotes, but the venture was short-lived and the notes did not enter general circulation, surviving today only as a collectors' curiosity.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes are unusual, firstly because they are issued by retail banks, not central banks, and secondly, as they are not legal tender anywhere in the UK – not even in Scotland or Northern Ireland – they are in fact promissory notes. [15][30]

Seven retail banks have the authority of HM Treasury to issue sterling banknotes as currency.[31] Despite this, the notes can be refused at the discretion of recipients in England and Wales, and are not accepted by banks and exchange bureaus outside of the United Kingdom. This is particularly true in the case of the Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note, which is the only £1 note to remain in circulation within the UK.[32]

In 2000, the European Central Bank indicated that, should the United Kingdom join the euro, Scottish banks (and, by extension, Northern Ireland banks) would have to cease banknote issue.[33] During the Financial crisis of 2007–2008, the future of private banknotes in the United Kingdom was uncertain. It has been suggested that the Banking Act 2009[34] would restrict the issue of banknotes by commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland by removing many of the provisions of the Acts quoted above.[35] Banks would be forced to lodge sterling funds with the Bank of England to cover private note issue for a full week, rather than over a weekend, thereby losing four days' interest and making banknote production financially unviable. Following negotiations among the UK Treasury, the Bank of England and the Scottish banks, it was agreed that the funds would earn interest, allowing them to continue to issue their own notes.[36]


The issuing of retail-bank banknotes in Scotland is subject to the Bank Charter Act 1844, Banknotes (Scotland) Act 1845, the Currency and Banknotes Act 1928, and the Coinage Act 1971. Pursuant to some of these statutes, the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs publishes an account of "the Amount of Notes authorised by Law to be issued by the several Banks of Issue in Scotland, and the Average Amount of Notes in Circulation, and of Bank of England Notes and Coin held" in the London Gazette. See for example Gazette Issue 58254 published 21 February 2007 at page 2544.[37]

Bank of Scotland notes

A £50 Bank of Scotland Tercentenary series note.

As of late 2007, the Tercentenary Series, introduced at the time of the Bank of Scotland's 300th anniversary in 1995, remains in circulation, but will be withdrawn as their physical condition deteriorates and will be replaced by the new Bridges of Scotland series:

All the notes also depict Sir Walter Scott who was instrumental in retaining the right of Scottish banks to issue their own notes in 1826.

A Bank of Scotland £20 note of the new 2007 issue

As of 17 September 2007, the Bank of Scotland introduced its new Bridges of Scotland notes, on which appear famous Scottish bridges:

Again all the notes also depict Sir Walter Scott on the front.

Following the announcement that HBOS (Bank of Scotland's parent company) would be taken over by Lloyds TSB in September 2008, it was confirmed that the new banking company would continue to print bank notes under the Bank of Scotland name.[38] According to the 1845 Bank Notes (Scotland) Act, the bank could have lost its note-issuing rights, but by retaining headquarters within Scotland, banknote issue will continue.[39] Currently Lloyds TSB branches dispense Clydesdale bank notes and there will need to be negotiations to release Lloyds Banking Group from its contract with Clydesdale bank.[40]

Royal Bank of Scotland notes

A £100 Royal Bank of Scotland note.

The current series of Royal Bank of Scotland notes was originally issued in 1987. On the front of each note is a picture of Lord Ilay (1682–1761), the first governor of the bank. On the back of the notes are images of Scottish castles, with a different castle for each denomination:[41]

Occasionally the Royal Bank of Scotland issues commemorative banknotes. Examples include the £1 note issued to mark the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Alexander Graham Bell in 1997, the £20 note for the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 2000, and the £5 note honouring veteran golfer Jack Nicklaus in his last competitive Open Championship at St Andrews in 2005. These notes are much sought-after by collectors and they rarely remain long in circulation.

In addition to this, many people will collect a "lucky" £1 note, as they become increasingly rare (shops preferring to give change in £1 coins when they are available).

Clydesdale Bank notes

A £20 Clydesdale Bank note.

In early 2009 Clydesdale Bank announced a new series of banknotes would be introduced later in the year.[42] The obverse designs will feature famous Scots while the reverse designs will feature Scotland's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A £5 Clydesdale Bank note featuring Sir Alexander Fleming.

The Clydesdale Bank also occasionally issues special edition banknotes, such as a 10 pound note celebrating the bank's sponsorship of the Scotland team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Northern Ireland

A £20 Northern Bank note

Currently, four Northern Irish banks practise their right to issue pound sterling notes in Northern Ireland, with different series of denominations. Bank of Ireland issues notes from £5 to £100. First Trust Bank issues notes from £10 to £100, Northern Bank issues notes from £5 to £100, and Ulster Bank issues notes from £5 to £50.

Northern Bank and Ulster Bank are the only two banks that have issued commemorative notes so far. The only polymer banknote in the UK was issued by Northern Bank commemorating the new millennium. It is the only one of the bank's pre-2004 notes still in circulation after the recall of all others following the £26.5 million pound robbery at its Belfast headquarters in 2004.

Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are grouped for administrative purposes into the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The islands are not part of the United Kingdom but are dependencies of the British Crown and in currency union with the UK. Both Jersey and Guernsey issue their own banknotes. These notes circulate freely between the two territories, so Jersey notes are commonly used in Guernsey, and vice versa. Private banknotes are no longer in circulation in the Channel Islands. These pounds are sterling pounds but the word "sterling" is omitted as with the English notes. These notes are legal tender in their juridictions but are not legal tender in the UK.[43]

The Government of Alderney (a part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey) is also licensed to issue its own currency, the Alderney pound, but only mints special commemorative sterling coins and does not issue banknotes.[44]

Jersey Pound

The current series of notes entered circulation on 29 April 2010.[45] The obverse of the notes includes a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II based on a photograph by Mark Lawrence, alongside a view of an important Jersey landmark, with text in English. The reverse of each note includes an image of one of Jersey's numerous historic coastal defence towers, built in the late 18th century, as well as a further image of cultural or landscape importance, images of the twelve parish crests, and with denomination worded in French and Jèrriais. The watermark is a Jersey cow, and further security features include a see-through map of Jersey, and on the £10, £20 and £50 a patch hologram showing a varying image of the coat of arms of Jersey and the Island of Jersey on a background pattern of La Corbière lighthouse.[46]

Denomination Colour Obverse design Reverse design
1 pound Green Queen Elizabeth II; Liberation Sculpture in Saint Helier Le Hocq Tower; La Hougue Bie
5 pounds Sky blue Queen Elizabeth II; Le Rât Cottage Archirondel Tower; Les Augrès Manor
10 pounds Burnt Sienna Queen Elizabeth II; Hermitage of Saint Helier Seymour Tower; Lalique sculpture in the Glass Church
20 pounds Violet Queen Elizabeth II; States Building La Rocco Tower; States Chamber
50 pounds Red Queen Elizabeth II; Mont Orgueil Tower, Ouaisné; La Marmotière, Les Écréhous

The previous series, gradually being withdrawn from circulation in 2010, depict Queen Elizabeth II on the front and various landmarks of Jersey or incidents in Jersey history on the reverse.

States of Guernsey notes

The Guernsey Pound is legal tender in Guernsey, but also circulates freely in Jersey. These pounds are sterling pounds but the word "sterling" is omitted on banknotes such as the English ones. It is also accepted elsewhere in the UK. These notes can also be exchanged in banks and in bureaux de change although it has been reported that British banks no longer accept one pound Guernsey banknotes because they no longer have the facility for handling one pound (UK) banknotes. In addition to coins, the following banknotes are used:

  • 1 pound note, green, Daniel De Lisle Brock, Bailiff of Guernsey (1762–1842) and Royal Court, St Peter Port (1840) on front and the Market, St Peter Port on back
  • 5 pound note, pink, Queen Elizabeth II and the Town Church, St Peter Port on front, and Fort Grey and Hanois Lighthouse (1862) on the back
  • 10 pound note, blue/orange, Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth College, St Peter Port on the front and Saumarez Park, Les Niaux Watermill, Le Trepid Dolmen on the back
  • 20 pound note, pink, Queen Elizabeth II and St James Concert Hall, St Peter Port on the front and Vale Castle and St Sampson's Church on the back
  • 50 pound note, light brown, Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Court House on the front and St Andrew’s Church and La Gran’mère on the back

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man Government issues its own banknotes and coinage, which are legal tender on the Isle of Man. Manx pounds are a local issue of the pound sterling. These pounds are sterling but the word "sterling" is omitted on banknotes. Manx pounds can be used in shops throughout the UK. These notes can be exchanged in banks and in bureaux de change.

The front of all Manx banknotes feature images of Queen Elizabeth II (not wearing a crown : she is only "Lord" on the island) and the Triskeles (three legs emblem). Each denomination features a different scene of the Island on its reverse side:

British overseas territories

Three British overseas territories use their own separate currencies called pounds which are at par with the pound sterling. The governments of these territories print their own banknotes which in general may only be used within their territory of origin. Bank of England notes usually circulate alongside the local note issues and are accepted as legal currency.


A Gibraltar £5 note

In Gibraltar, banknotes are issued by the Government of Gibraltar. The pound was made sole legal tender in 1898 and Gibraltar has issued its own banknotes since 1934.[47] The notes bear an image of the British monarch on the obverse and the wording "pounds sterling", meaning that more retailers in the UK will accept them.

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands pound is the currency of the Falkland Islands. Banknotes are issued by the Falkland Islands Government. The illustrations on all notes are the same, featuring the British monarch, wildlife and local scenes; denominations are distinguished by the size and color of the notes.

Saint Helena

The territory of Saint Helena, which includes the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, uses the Saint Helena pound. Banknotes in these areas are issued by the Saint Helena Government and bear the image of the British monarch.

The monarch on banknotes

Queen Elizabeth II was not the first British monarch to have her face on UK banknotes. George II, George III and George IV appeared on early Royal Bank of Scotland notes and George V appeared on 10 shilling and 1 pound notes issued by the British Treasury between 1914 and 1928. However, prior to the issue of its Series C banknotes in 1960, Bank of England banknotes generally did not depict the monarch. Today, notes issued by Scottish and Irish banks do not depict the monarch.

The monarch is depicted on banknotes issued by the Crown dependencies.

Some British overseas territories have their own Sterling-based currencies, and some of these issue banknotes bearing the monarch; for example the Falkland pound, the Gibraltar pound, and the Saint Helena pound.

See also


States within the Commonwealth of Nations issue their own banknotes which are separate currencies:


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