The release of the new £20 note this week featuring JMW Turner gives collectors of physical cash another potential craze to keep an eye out for.
With the first banknotes being released into circulation, it is likely some will be taking a keen look at the 10 digit serial number in the hope they have ended up with one of the lowest numbered notes.
This is because new fivers and tenners have – in the past – previously sold for big sums if the serial number is of particular interest.
The Bank of England released the new £20 note featuring JMW Turner into circulation this week
Meanwhile, some with a keen interest in the life and work of the artist, who has replaced economist and philosopher Adam Smith as the companion to Queen Elizabeth II on the new note, may be keeping an eye out for serial numbers relating to key dates.
The biggest sale sums will likely come from a charity auction of ultra-low numbered notes in April, This is Money has had a go at predicting which notes might become popular and fetch quite a bit more than their £20 face value.
Both the previous polymer banknotes released by the Bank of England, the £5 note featuring Winston Churchill and the £10 note featuring Jane Austen, have come with a 10 digit serial number, with two letters and two numbers – a space – followed by another six numbers.
When the Bank of England released the new £5 note four years’ ago, This is Money told readers to keep an eye out for banknotes with the first four digits ‘AA01’, after we discovered they were selling for as much as £200 on eBay, 40 times face value.
Popular: This is Money reported on how new £5 banknotes with the serial number ‘AA01’ sold up to 40 times their face value on eBay back in 2016
While the craze didn’t take off quite as much for the £10 note, there is always the possibility it could do so again for this one.
If the higher value note also sold for 40 times its face value, it would fetch a seller £800 – although.
According to the Bank of England, 999,000 AA01 £5 notes were put into circulation.
It told This is Money the same number of £20 notes would be printed, but couldn’t confirm how many of those would enter circulation.
A glance at auction site eBay this morning has found some sellers have already scooped up large quantities of the new banknotes, and are making a tidy profit.
While This is Money has not spotted any sales of the potentially coveted AA notes, a number of notes with AB01, AB03 and AB04 prefixes have sold for more than face value.
Of those three categories, AB01 and AB04 appear to be the most in-demand, and have sold for almost £35, a 75 per cent uplift on their face value, while AB03 notes have sold for a lower sum of £29.
Those after the new £20 note with an AB prefix have already paid nearly £35 for them
It remains to be seen if this is because AA notes are being hoarded by collectors or if no one has actually got their hands on it yet, but in the absence of those £20 notes it seems collectors are turning to the next best thing.
Other lettered banknotes
Line of Duty stars Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston
While these notes were valuable because they were the lowest numbered ones released to the public, the two letters might make any manner of combinations which could prove popular with specific collectors.
Other ones to look out for might well be ones involving any of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s initials, such as ‘JM’, ‘JW’, or ‘JT’, with someone potentially thinking this is worth paying a bit extra for.
However, the Bank of England cautioned that ‘it would have to print a very large number of notes to get to serial numbers beginning with J’, so it’s very unlikely that these will enter circulation.
Fans of hit BBC programme Line of Duty might also be slightly amused by the fact the specimen promotional note released by the Bank of England featured the serial number ‘AC12’, which of course is the name of the anti-corruption unit staffed by Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dubar.
The other common combination which is always touted as a highly valuable one is ‘AK47’, but This is Money has never found any evidence that this is the case.
JMW Turner’s 1799 self-portrait, which features on the new £20 banknote
Looking at the second set of serial numbers, the six digit number offers the possibility for a myriad of combinations which fans of the artist might fancy collecting.
To use a previous example, a £10 banknote with the full serial number AA01 001817 was donated to Winchester Cathedral, in commemoration of the date Jane Austen was buried in the Hampshire town.
Possible combinations which might be worth keeping an eye out for on the new £20 note then include 001775, the year of Turner’s birth, 001790, the year of his exhibition at the Royal Academy, or 001851, when he died in Chelsea, London, at the age of 76.
Other key dates may include some of his best-known paintings, such as his 1799 self-portrait, currently on display at the Tate Britain, and the 1805 The Fighting Temeraire, which is on display at the National Gallery and also popped up in the 2012 Bond film Skyfall.
Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, voted the nation’s favourite painting in 2005, was a topic of conversation in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, between Daniel Craig’s Bond and Ben Whishaw’s Q
It is worth noting all of these dates relate to pictures or references which are on the banknote.
Residents of Margate may also be willing to pay a premium for ones numbered 002011, the year the Turner Contemporary Gallery opened in the Kent seaside Town.
But it is also worth noting that notes with serial numbers referencing the above dates may only be really valuable if they are preceded by the first four digits ‘AA01.’
It is also likely than many of the key dated notes may be have been set aside for the charity auction.
And, for peace of mind for those worried about shopping on eBay for a note and getting conned, the Bank of England insist the new £20 note is the most secure banknote it has ever created.
Where can I get a new note?
From Milton Keynes to Margate, bank branches across the country are stocking the new £20 banknote for those looking to get their hands on them.
Here are banks with the new notes, and the locations of some of the branches they’re being stocked: