The new £10 is now in circulation, but you can still use the old one until 1 March 2018; after that, they’ll cease to be legal tender.

Featuring novelist Jane Austen, the notes officially came into circulation on 14 September 2017. Like the updated £5, the new tenner is made from polymer, which means it will last around two-and-a-half times longer than the old paper versions.

Because polymer notes last longer, it means they’re more environmentally friendly – in fact, the new £10 has a carbon footprint 8% lower than its predecessor. The latest notes are also 15% smaller, cleaner and resist dirt and moisture better than the old paper ones. More importantly perhaps, the new polymer version is harder to counterfeit.

With about 22,000 fake £10 notes discovered in 2016, the more secure £10 note has a number of high-tech security features, such as:

  • A see-through window featuring the Queen with ‘£10 Bank of England’ printed around it twice
  • An image of Winchester Cathedral (where Jane Austen is buried) is printed and shines silver on one side, but gold on the other. Moving the note will create a rainbow effect.
  • A quill printed next to the window changes from purple to orange when the note is tilted.
  • On the back, there’s a copper-coloured patch shaped like an open book, with the letters ‘JA’ within it.
  • Under ultra-violet light, a red and green number ‘10’ appears on the front.

Of course, as with any genuine note, you should also make sure the print is clear and sharp with no blurry edges. The note also features raised dots in the top left-hand corner to help anyone blind or partially sighted identify it.

So, with a few months to go, it’s time to dig out any old tenners you might have and spend them. But if you miss the cut-off of 1 March 2018, then don’t worry – simply take them to any bank and they’ll exchange them for new ones.

But what of those notes and coins from yesteryear. How much might they be worth today? Well, it depends on several factors, such as how unusual the design was, whether it had an early or significant serial number, and what condition it’s in.

Rare specimens of the round pound coin could be worth about £20 on some auction sites, but it’s the examples from bygone times that are more likely to fetch larger sums. For example, a pair of £1 notes with consecutive serial numbers, issued in 1914, sold for £1,400. Even notes printed with errors can be worth a lot more than face value – recent £10 notes featuring Charles Darwin sold for £55 because the serial numbers were missing the last four digits.

Old notes have a habit of turning up in the most unusual of places, but until you find that windfall, make the most of the money you’ve got. Go to our savings and current accounts hub for help finding a good deal for your personal finances.

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