The next generation £10 note has been shown off by the governor of the Bank of England, to a certain degree of controversy.
The polymer currency – designed to be more durable and difficult to counterfeit – will start to replace the old paper versions from 14 September. Current tenners featuring Charles Darwin will be withdrawn next spring.
It follows the release of the new £5 note last year – later marred by an outcry among animal rights and vegan campaigners over the use of tallow, a suet derivative, in its manufacture.
While the new tenner also contains the animal fat product, the Bank says it is still seeking ways to replace it in future.
The central bank walked into a further row about the new £10 notes before they even enter circulation.
Image: Also included is a 3D hologram of the coronation crown that changes colour when tilted
It concerns claims by biographers that the image of Austen to be used on the currency from a portrait had been doctored to make her look more pretty.
There were also murmurings over the Bank’s use, in the design, of a quote from Pride and Prejudice that reads: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”.
Literary experts pointed out the words were spoken by a character in the book with clearly no interest in reading – Caroline Bingley.
Unveiling the note, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “£10 would have meant a lot to Jane Austen – about the same as £1000 would mean to us today.”
That was based on figures showing how much prices had gone up since the year of Austen’s birth in 1775.
Mr Carney also said £10 may have had a “symbolic meaning” for the author as it was the amount paid by publishers Crosby and Co for her first novel, Susan.
Image: It hes been claimed the image of Austen used has been altered to make her look prettier
The governor was speaking at an event to launch the note at Winchester Cathedral, where the Regency-era author is buried, marking the 200th anniversary of her death.
The Bank says the latest polymer note in its stable is its best yet, including a new feature to help the blind identify it.
Also included is a 3D hologram of the coronation crown that changes colour when the note is tilted.
Mr Carney said: “Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens.
“The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.
“The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner. The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation’s money is as inclusive as possible.”