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New £10 note: how to spot if yours is worth thousands

Laura Suter
Some of the new bank notes will be worth far more than £10 - Bank of England

People can make thousands of pounds by checking the serial number on their new £10 banknotes when they are released this week.

Unique or special serial numbers can make the new Jane Austen note worth thousands, but how do you know which ones are valuable?

How do the serial numbers work?

The serial numbers show when the note was printed, with the new run of £10 notes starting with the prefix of AA01 and going up from there. The new £5 note had 60 notes printed to each sheet, meaning that the first sheet had the serial number prefixes AA01 to AA60, according to ChangeChecker.org. The new £10 note is slightly larger, so will only have 54 notes printed per sheet.

The serial number is printed on one side of the note, the same side as Jane Austen's face. It is two letters followed by eight numbers, running from 000001 to 999000. 

At a glance | The faces of the new polymer banknotes

Which codes will be most valuable?

The lower the number, the more valuable the banknote. However, you won't get your hands on the first note printed, as it will be given to the Queen.

The second note printed will be given to Prince Philip, the third to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and the fourth to the Philip Hammond, the Chancellor. The Bank of England also holds back some other early-printed notes to give to museums and other institutions.

Despite that, the first million £10 notes will contain a prefix of AA01 and could all be worth £50, said Simon Narbeth, a specialist paper money dealer.

Jane Austen £10 note: behind the scenes of the production line, in pictures

It's not just low numbers that will prove lucrative, quirky numbers also become collectable. Examples include 007, James Bond's moniker, and AK47, due to the machine gun connotations. Consecutive numbers can also prove valuable, if they are sold together.

There are also some specific serial numbers for the Jane Austen note that are likely to become fought over by collectors.

According to ChangeChecker.com these include 16 121775 and 18 071817, which are the author’s date of birth and death, 17 751817, which is Jane Austen's birth and death year combined. Serial number 28 011813 is also one to watch out for, as it is the date that the author's celebrated novel Pride and Prejudice was first published.

Perhaps easier to spot, the JA01, JA75 and JA17 prefixes will also be popular, representing Jane Austen's initials and her birth and death years. However, it may take years before the JA prefix rolls off the printing presses.

At a glance | Jane Austen

Is there any other way of getting hold of these special notes?

Yes. The Bank of England is holding a charity auction of some of the new £10 bank notes, which it also did when the £5 note was released. It will take place on October 6, starting at 11am, run by Spink.

Among the lots are early serial numbers, such as AA01 000010 and AA01 000017, and some lots of consecutive serial numbers, such as AA01 000120/121/122. You can also bid on an entire sheet of 54 £10 notes. To give an idea of prices, the AA01 000010 note has a guide price of £2,000 to £3,000, while the sheet of notes has a guide price of £4,500 to £6,500.

New £10 note

However, this may not be a place to bag a bargain. ChangeChecker.org said that in the £5 note auction the earliest note (AA01 000017) sold for £4,150 and the average price for a single £5 note was £865. 

A Bank of England spokesman said: "In total we received £194,500 from the auction last year, including a bid of £8,500 for a single £5 note.

More details of the auction are here and the brochure is here.

Inside the Bank of England: the making of the new Jane Austen £10 note

Which £5 notes sold for the most?

Many people sold off their £5 notes when they were released earlier this year, and we can use this as a guide for what the new £10 might be worth. 

An AK37 007 £5 note sold for £5,000 – 1,000 times its face value, while some of the AA prefix £5 notes sold for just £20 - although that is still four times their value.

After the £5 notes launched there was a frenzy of trading, and some notes were sold for very high sums. But as ChangeChecker warns: "Just remember, a year down the line the market has settled and you can now pick up an AA01 note for around £7 on eBay."

Also, four special £5 notes are in circulation that were engraved with a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen by the micro-artist Graham Short have proved the most lucrative. They have been given a valuation of about £50,000. It's not known if the same will happen for the £10, but keep your eyes peeled.


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New £10 note
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