British 'white notes' of the 1900s have cameo role in PBS TV series 'Mr. Selfridge'

Reader has question about notes seen in scenes
By , Coin World
Published : 08/28/14
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I love the PBS television show Mr. Selfridge, about the American who opened a department store in London.

On a recent episode, Mr. Selfridge was shown holding some large white sheets of paper and they were supposed to be paper money.

Is that what British paper money looked like at the time?

C. Shafer, Philadelphia

The British period television drama series from the early 1900s is about Harry Gordon Selfridge and his London department store, Selfridge & Co.

The television series is an adaptation of Lindy Woodhead’s biography Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge. The series certainly seems to have captured the hearts of viewers.

And yes, that is what British bank notes looked like at that time.

It’s easy to see where the name “white notes” came from — the notes were printed on white paper in black ink and only on one side.

The “white notes,” which measured 7.75 inches by 4.75 inches, circulated until 1946.

Perhaps the best known story about “white notes” is the Nazis’ failed plot to undermine England’s economy during World War II, known as “Operation Bernhard.” The operation was the subject of the 2007 motion picture, The Counterfeiters.

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