This article is more than 1 year old

Life in plastic, with a classic: Polymer £20 notes released into wild sporting Turner art

Updated cocaine straws will be much harder to forge and hopefully vegan

The Bank of England has started sending out new polymer £20 notes but the old paper ones remain legal tender for now.

The note includes a JMW Turner self-portrait with one of his most famous pictures – "The Fighting Temeraire" – in the background.

As the UK's most commonly forged note, the new twenty has a bunch of security features. It has two clear windows, a hologram which changes between the words Twenty and Pounds when tilted, and a silver foil patch with 3D crown as well as raised polymer print.

Rumour has it the first notes go to the north of England and more than half of ATMs are expected to be dispensing them within two weeks.

The bank said it had seen a dramatic drop in forgeries of £5 and £10 since the switch to polymer. It is the first note featuring the signature of new chief cashier Sarah John.

In an effort to ingratiate themselves with Reg readers, the Bank of England comms teams included a Reg-style weights and measures line in their press release.

The press release claims: "There are over 2 billion £20 notes in circulation. Laid end to end, 2 billion polymer £20 notes would stretch around the world almost 7 times and weigh a total of 1,780 tonnes – that's over 141 double decker buses."

Here's hoping they've made this one vegan-friendly. ®


You can have a play with The Reg's standards converter here.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like