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Great Britain: the first banknotes with the image of Charles III are presented to the public

Before going into circulation in June, the new banknotes featuring King Charles III will be unveiled to the public from Wednesday as part of an exhibition organized in London by the Bank of England.

The four denominations – £5, £10, £20 and £50 – visible in the central bank’s premises feature a portrait of the sovereign, unveiled in 2013 and last approved in 2022 after the death of his mother Elizabeth II. Since he ruled the United Kingdom for 70 years and was its first monarch to appear on banknotes, this is “the first time the public has witnessed such a transition,” highlights AFP’s Jennifer Adam, a museum curator.

This unprecedented change comes at a particular time: King Charles III, who announced he had cancer earlier this month, has withdrawn from his public engagements while he undergoes treatment.

According to Jennifer Adam, tickets featuring Elizabeth II will still be valid, and new ones will “gradually replace” those that have become too “old and worn out” over time. “We will therefore have to wait a certain amount of time” after their introduction into circulation, June 5, 2024, for those bearing the image of Charles to be widely used.

These new notes will also be made from polymer – stronger and with a plastic texture – rather than paper like other notes issued in the UK since 2016.

Gradual replacement

Coins with the head of Charles III, based on a portrait by British sculptor Martin Jennings, have already been released into circulation in December 2022 and are temporarily featured in the Future of Money exhibition. This allows us to discover that the basis of this institution, which has been issuing banknotes since its creation in 1694, was that Elizabeth II was the first sovereign of the United Kingdom to appear on denomination, namely banknotes. into circulation in 1960.

Since 1970, other historical figures have emerged on the other side, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill (five books), nursing school founder Florence Nightingale (ten books), writer William Shakespeare (twenty books) and mathematician Alan Turing (50 books). pounds).

The Bank of England Museum also permanently houses centuries-old coins and gold bars, of which there are approximately 400,000 in its vaults, as well as the first banknotes issued in the late seventeenth century.

The exhibition, which runs until September 2025, also explores the gradual disillusionment with cash and the rise of virtual currencies in recent years. She documents a decline in the use of banknotes in the UK, noting that they now make up just 14% of payments in 2022, down from 55% in 2011. According to the museum, this figure could fall to 7% by 2032. Over the past five years, the country has lost 15,000 ATMs and nearly 2,000 bank branches. Despite this, legislation was passed last year aimed at protecting access to cash, as even today almost a million people do not have a bank account.

Source: Le Parisien

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