Plastic five pound notes are about to be unveiled by the Bank of England which will be impossible to tear, can go through the wash and even survive having a glass of wine poured on them.
The polymer £5 note repels dirt and moisture and is designed to last for about five years, compared with between 18 months and two years for the cotton paper version which should save the Bank of England about £100-milliom over 10 years.
The design is being unveiled later this week while the notes themselves will not be released until September when about 44m of the notes will come into circulation, followed by plastic versions of other notes.
The new fiver, which will be 15% smaller than the current note, will feature Winston Churchill who replaces the 19th Century prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.
A plastic £10 note featuring author Jane Austen will be released next summer and a £20 note with a picture of the artist JMW Turner will be launched by 2020.
Victoria Cleland, 46, the Bank’s chief cashier, told the Sunday Times, the new notes were getting a good reaction from members of the public who had seen them.
She says: “They often says, ‘Wow, that’s really cool.’ You don’t often get ‘cool’ and ‘the Bank of England’ in the same sentence. They are more modern and I think they’re beautiful.”
But despite their resilience, the Bank is not encouraging anybody to give the new notes a spin.
Cleland says: “Yes, you can put them through washing machines but we’re not encouraging people to do that. We didn’t design them to go into washing machines: it is a fortunate by-product that they are more resilient [when washed].
“But clearly if you keep doing it at high temperatures you are going to destroy the poor note.”
Governor Mark Carney, revealed plans for polymer notes 11 weeks after joining the Bank of England in 2013.
He was head of the Bank of Canada when it introduced them in 2011 but the launch was overshadowed by rumours that the notes were scented after Canadians became convinced they could smell maple syrup on the money.
The Bank of England, which dealt with 240 000 counterfeit notes last year, hopes the new notes will be much more difficult for fraudsters to copy successfully.
By Nicola Bartlett for www.mirror.co.uk
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