Detecting Old Bank Notes . . Charming!

3rd May 2019 — 8 Comments

The note on the left (top and bottom) was first issued in 1948 and ceased to be legal tender in 1962. The one shown on the right (top and bottom) was first issued in 1961 and withdrawn in 1970. This was the first and only issued Bank of England 10 Shilling note to carry a portrait of the monarch. COURTESY BANK OF ENGLAND

If you were born in the late 1960’s you won’t r­­­­­­emember the old ten-shilling note, which was withdrawn in 1970 after the introduction of the fifty pence coin in 1969. But you may still be able to unearth one when metal detecting … and it was worth a lot more then than that 50p in your pocket today.

I have a hazy recollection of writing an article many years ago about an Australian lady who did just that when searching with her detector in a park. The 10-Bob note was folded, placed inside a pendant and worn around the neck. My mother had one similar; wonder where it is now? Yes, it is possible to find old bank notes with your detector. Let me know if you’ve found a pendant. I’d love to see it and perhaps add to this blog.

The 10-Bob emergency pendant – from Ebay

The Bank of England first ever 10s note was a banknote of the pound sterling and first issued in 1928. The note featured a vignette of Britannia, a feature of the Bank’s notes since 1694 and the predominant colour was red-brown. Ten shillings in pre-decimal money (written 10s or 10/-) was equivalent to half of one pound. The ten-shilling note was the smallest denomination note ever issued by the Bank of England and continued to be printed until 1969. The note ceased to be legal tender in 1970 and was removed in favour of the fifty pence coin.

Although the first bank notes produced by The Bank of England appeared in the late 17th Century, it wasn’t until 1960 that the portrait of a British Monarch graced a banknote. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave permission for Her portrait to be used for the first time in 1956, and the first banknote ever to bear the effigy of a Monarch was issued four years later – the British £1 Banknote. The London Mint

Did You Know?

During the Second World War, the Bank of England felt the need to protect its currency from counterfeiters. It decided to change the colours of the £1 and 10 shilling notes for the duration of the war and add a revolutionary (at the time) inner metal security thread. The 10 shillings changed from Red Brown to Mauve. You can see an example below. In circulation 1940-1948.

Courtesy Coincraft


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8 responses to Detecting Old Bank Notes . . Charming!

  1. Very interesting John and I well remember all of the paper currency my era.

  2. There was a large concern that the English currency was going to be counterfeited…My father told me that way back when.. And that was a good part of the reason for the improved bank notes.

    But I have never seen one.. so it would be a very unique find; especially on this side of the pond

    A very good post John .. Many thanks

  3. I used many Ten Bob Notes in my time.
    Sometimes termed in slang as half a Nicker or half a Quid.

  4. Gwyneth Wright 3rd May 2019 at 8:00 PM

    I thought decimalisation wasn’t until 1971 so am very confused by the mention of ‘…the introduction of the fifty pence coin in 1969.’

  5. another top storey john

  6. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 4th May 2019 at 3:08 PM

    John, though not exactly on topic to your post, this still relates to bank notes.

    Viola Desmond’s a Canadian civil-rights icon for black Canadians, is the first woman to have graced our notes outside of the Monarchy.

    I have found paper notes whilst out detecting, but sadly (or not depending on your perspective), I’ve only found them stuck to hedges.

    The funny thing is I consider it to be found metal detecting, and as such have added it to my non spendable finds collection.

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