Britain’s got a new polymer £5 note – but is it a UK first?

On 13 September, the Bank of England will issue a new £5.  It will be the first-ever polymer (or “plastic”) banknote that they have issued.

But is it the UK’s first?

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The new Bank of England £5 Polymer note enters circulation on 13 September.

Well it is certainly not the first polymer banknote issued in the UK.

Last year Clydesdale Bank issued Scotland’s first polymer banknote to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Forth Roadbridge.

But it was Northern Ireland that beat everyone else to it with a commemorative polymer banknote in 1999 issued to mark the millennium.

So the new Bank of England £5 note is certainly not the first polymer note to be issued IN the UK but perhaps it is still the first UK-wide polymer banknote…

The murky question of legal tender

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So this might surprise you.  No Scottish or Northern Irish banknotes are legal tender.

Bank of England banknotes are – but only in England and Wales.

But don’t panic – if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland – your money’s not worthless!  Legal tender does not mean quite what you think.  It has a very narrow technical definition which relates to your ability to pay a debt into a court.

In fact all Scottish and Northern Irish notes are considered “legal currency” across the whole of the UK.  But that does not mean that they have to be accepted and it’s not unusual for English or Welsh shop owners to be reluctant to accept non-Bank of England notes.

So where does this all leave us?

The Northern Irish and Scottish polymer banknotes clearly beat the new fiver.  But they were special commemorative issues with limited circulation and little recognition outside of their issuing nation.

The new polymer £5 note is certainly the first “legal tender” note issued in the UK but that’s not as important as it first seems.

It is, however, the first polymer banknote issued for ongoing circulation (rather than as a commemorative issue) which is generally accepted across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Mark the moment the UK £5 banknote changed forever…

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Just 5,000 new UK Polymer £5 Notes have been reserved for a Limited Edition DateStamp™ release.

This is the VERY FIRST time that a DateStamp™ banknote has been released.

Click here to add one to your collection.


  1. Mary French on September 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    You sent me a email for the old white five pound note but when I click on the page it was not available

  2. Daniel Lawson on November 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I have seen these soar in the past couple of weeks on auction websites. The ones that seem to have most value are the serial no’s starting AA01 and even more if the rest of the no.s match a date. For example someones date of birth could be 5th of June 1980 the serial no would be like- AA01 050680

    Also if you have certain amounts of notes with the serial no. consecutive to each other also seem to be selling very well.

  3. Nida on October 14, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    This blog is really interesting. I have bookmarked it.
    Do you allow guest post on your website ? I can provide hi quality articles for you.
    Let me know.

    • Lauren Brewer on November 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Hi Nida,

      We’re glad you like the blog! We don’t unfortunately do guest posts on our website at the moment I’m afraid.

      We hope you continue to enjoy our blog!

  4. Kate Robinson on September 13, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I have read all of the information but nowhere, as far as I can see, does it tell me how much it is going to cost!!! I don’t want to ADD ONE TO MY COLLECTION, but may buy one depending on the cost. Thank you Kate Robinson

    • Josefina Kane on September 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Price £24.99 (+ £2.99 p&p)

    • Keith Payne on September 23, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      As far as I can see on their web page they are £24.99 plus £2,99 (Multi buy)

    • Freddie K on October 14, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Are you an idiot? Err it ‘costs’ £5

    • Vincent on October 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      The date stamped polymer £5 note cost about £28 including postage and packing

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