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Pound Sterling- general information

Quick links to current banknotes:

- 5 Pound Sterling polymer note
- 10 Pound Sterling polymer note
- 20 Pound Sterling note
- 50 Pound Sterling note

Withdrawn banknotes:

- 5 Pound Sterling note
- 10 Pound Sterling note

The pound sterling (ISO code: GBP), commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies (the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands,British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence (singular: penny). A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the "pound". Sterling is the fourth most traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the US dollar, the euro and the Japanese yen. Together with those three currencies and Chinese yuan forms the basket of currencies which calculate the value of IMF Special Drawing Rights. Sterling is also the third most held reserve currency in global reserves (about 4%).

The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years. During that time, both the notes themselves and their role in society have undergone continual change. From today's perspective, it is easy to accept that a piece of paper that costs a few pence to produce is worth five, ten, twenty or fifty pounds. Gaining and maintaining public confidence in the currency is a key role of the Bank of England and one which is essential to the proper functioning of the economy.

The notes currently in circulation are as follows:

£5 depicting Winston Churchill, the Elizabeth Tower, and the maze at Blenheim Palace, the quote "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." from a 1940 speech by Churchill, a view of the Palace of Westminster and the Nobel Prize medal.
£10 showing Jane Austen (from a portrait by James Andrews), the quote "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" from Pride and Prejudice, an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and a view of Godmersham Park in Kent.
£20 depicting Adam Smith, with an illustration of 'The division of labour in pin manufacturing'.
£50 depicting Matthew Boulton and James Watt, with steam engine and Boulton's Soho factory.

The new £20 note is expected to enter circulation by 2020.

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