Paper Money

Ulster Bank reveals designs of 2020 polymer £20 note

Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank has unveiled what its new polymer £20 note will look like when it enters circulation in early 2020.

Original images courtesy of Ulster Bank.

Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank, at an event in Derry–Londonderry, has unveiled what its new polymer £20 note will look like when it enters circulation in early 2020. 

It is based on the theme of “Living in Nature,” and was developed after consultation with both a panel of experts and Northern Irish citizens. It focuses on Northern Ireland as a place to live, highlighting architecture and the local concept of “craic,” loosely translated as a spirit of fun and conviviality.

The face side of the purple, vertically oriented note pays tribute to what the bank refers to as Derry’s world-famous Halloween celebrations, with street entertainers and their audience in a display of local music and culture. Architecture is reflected in the arches, tiles, brickwork, and patterns of Northern Ireland’s red-brick tenement buildings, and also in representations of the decorative elements found on public buildings, corporate architecture and domestic homes in Derry, Belfast, and other cities.

The back of the note is consistent with the already issued £5 and £10 issues of the Living in Nature series, with a butterfly and native flora — on this denomination, the Hawthorne flower. 

Fisheries, an important aspect of the economy, are represented by eels at the top of both sides, next to the denomination. They spawn in the North Atlantic and migrate hundreds of miles to Irish waters.

The Halloween theme is incorporated in the security features. Visible under ultraviolet light are skeletons and Leisler’s bat, the largest type of the species in Ireland. Other security elements contain the Hawthorne flower and a transparent outline of Lough Neagh, at 151 square miles, the largest lake by area in the British Isles. 

Ulster Bank is in the process of withdrawing its paper-composition currency from circulation and took the opportunity of the £20 introduction to ask people to exchange any paper currency they still have before they are withdrawn.

Ulster Bank is one of four banks authorized to issue bank notes in Northern Ireland.

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