Paper Money

Northern Ireland banks converting notes to polymer

Two more of the four banks in Northern Ireland that are authorized to print money have announced that they are switching from paper to polymer.

Danske Bank and Bank of Ireland will use the material in new £5 and £10 notes that they say will enter circulation in February 2019. Ulster Bank announced in May that its polymer issues of the same denomination will also make their debut in 2019. The Bank of England and all three Scottish banks have already started the changeover, leaving First Trust Bank as the only bank in the United Kingdom not to implement a switch. 

December 2018 Coin WorldInside Coin World: Celebrating Christmas numismatically: The December issue of Coin World features several features with a Christmas theme and a look at paper money depicting people you might not recognize.

Danske Bank says that its new £10 polymer note will be similar to its current paper version, with the portrait of inventor John Dunlop, the eponymous founder of the tire company, but with some subtle changes including a depiction of Dunlop’s son. Although Dunlop was Scottish, he developed the pneumatic tire in Belfast. 

Danske Bank will not issue a £5 note. Citing lack of demand, the bank long ago discontinued it. Before its acquisition, when it was known as Northern Bank, it issued the first polymer £5 bank note. That was in December 1999 as a commemorative issue for the new millennium.

The Bank of Ireland’s £5 and £10 notes will remain largely unchanged, keeping the image of the Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim, where Irish whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery.

Polymer notes will be issued by both banks in either 2020 or 2021. The BBC says that about £2.5 billion ($3.25 billion) worth of Northern Ireland bank notes are in circulation. The paper versions of the notes will gradually be withdrawn.

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