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Things you never thought to ask about the brand new PS10 note; As Jane Austen is the latest to appear on the tenner, Ian Robson takes a look at the history of bank note.

THE new plastic tenner was launched yesterday to join the plastic fivers already in circulation - and there's a new face on the note which is said to be harder to forge.

Author Jane Austen is the woman whose appearance will be on the currency.

The PS10 note was formally unveiled on the 200th anniversary of her death but there has been some controversy.

Animal fat will be included in the make-up of the new tenner - this caused controversy among vegetarians when the new PS5 notes were launched. And there have been rumblings from fans that Austen, said to be very plain in real life, has been made to look more attractive.

The new note will be the only note in circulation to feature a woman, aside from the Queen, following the replacement of the old PS5 note which featured prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, The Royal Mint has also unveiled a new commemorative PS2 coin featuring her portrait.

They will also be releasing a limited number of Jane Austen coins into circulation on July 18 at key locations around Winchester and Basingstoke that have connections with the author And yesterday a life-size statue of Jane Austen was unveiled in the Market Square in Basingstoke, where the author attended social gatherings.

The bronze artwork was created by local sculptor Adam Roud and was commissioned to mark 200 years since the death of Austen, who was born in the nearby village of Stevenson in 1775.

Following a display of regency dancing, the statue was unveiled by the Countess of Portsmouth.

Clive Sanders, leader of The Jane Austen PS Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, told a crowd of more than 100 people: "Jane is back - or we should say more formally, Miss Jane Austen has returned.

"She has put us on the map for more than roundabouts and skyscrapers."

A series of decorated benches have also been installed in the Hampshire town to mark Austen's links with the area.

Mr Sanders said: "I think she would have been one of the first to take a selfie on one of them."

As Miss Austen has brought PS10 notes to the fore, here's some other facts about tenners you may not know: THE SOARING VALUE OF THE TENNER Ten pounds in Jane Austen's time would have been worth the equivalent of almost PS800 in today's money, research has found.

If the Bank of England had wanted the new PS10 banknote to have the same purchasing power that PS10 enjoyed 200 years ago, it would need to be revalued as the PS786 banknote, according to analysis by Aviva. But the eroding impact of inflation over time means a tenner has a relative purchasing power of only 13p, compared with what it could have bought in 1817 - the year of Austen's death - Aviva found.

Alistair McQueen, head of saving and retirement at Aviva, said: "Inflation silently shrinks the value of our hard-earned cash.

2 "Today's new PS10 note allows us to powerfully demonstrate the impact of inflation over time."

BREAK IN SERVICE - ANDA CHANGING LOOK The Bank of England did not produce PS10 notes, first issued in 1759 as one-sided and monochrome, from 1943 until 1964, when it became brown.

The design of the reintroduced note was then changed in 1975 to a predominantly brown one with a portrait of Florence Nightingale on the back.

That was replaced in 1992 with an image of Charles Dickens appearing on the multi-coloured, but mostly orange-brown note.

The note about to be phased out was introduced in 2000, is printed on cotton paper and includes a portrait of Charles Darwin and an illustration of the ship he travelled on, HMS Beagle.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE OLD NOTES? There are more than 700 million paper PS10 notes currently in circulation - that's an awful lot!

But the Bank of England has a plan for the old notes once the new ones are introduced.

In the olden days (by which we mean until around 1990) old banknotes were incinerated, and the resulting energy was used to heat the Bank of England building, it reports on its website.

But in the nineties, the building had its heating system upgraded and old notes were then taken away and burned for energy recovery elsewhere.

After the turn of the millennium, the Bank came up with a greener way of disposing of old notes, which was to recycle them with a composting treatment, much as is done with food waste.

This became an official method in 2011, and the resulting compost was used in agriculture.

The method is still used now, so all the old tenners that are taken out of circulation will be helping to grow crops across the UK after they are recycled.

SIZE MATTERS When the PS10 note was first put into circulation, the public were used to most things they carried being quite large and therefore the inaugural tenner sized up at a whopping 211mm x 133mm.

The size was reduced drastically when it returned to circulation in 1964 with 61mm being taken off its length and 40mm from its height.

The 1975 note saw an extra millimetre added to its length and 8mm taken from its height.

In 1992, the length was reduced by a further 9mm and the height dropped by 10mm to give the dimensions of 142mm x 75mm which have remained until the decision to replace it with the polymer Jane Austen note.

The new note will be the smallest yet at 132mm in length and 69mm high.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2017
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