Banknotes of Scotland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Scottish banknotes)
Jump to: navigation, search

Banknotes of Scotland are the tradable notes of the Pound Sterling that are in circulation in Scotland. The issuing of retail-bank banknotes in Scotland is subject to the Bank Charter Act 1844, Banknotes (Scotland) Act 1845, the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1928, and the Coinage Act 1971. Currently, three retail banks are allowed to print notes for circulation in Scotland; Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Clydesdale Bank. Such banknotes have to be backed one to one with Bank of England notes[1]


Bank of Scotland notes[edit]

Main article: Bank of Scotland
A £50 Bank of Scotland Tercentenary series note.

Bank of Scotland's 2007 redesign of their banknotes are knows as the Bridges of Scotland series. These notes were introduced on the 17th September 2007, and show Scotland's most famous bridges on the reverse side. All of Bank of Scotland's notes contain a portrait of Sir Walter Scott, who was a largely known figure of the Scottish enlightenment who campaigned for Scottish banks to retain their right to issuing their own banknotes. Bank of Scotland's Tercentenary series are being withdrawn from circulation and replaced with the 2007 series, but remain legal tender.

A Bank of Scotland £20 note of the new 2007 issue

Following the announcement that HBOS (Bank of Scotland's parent company) would be taken over by Lloyds TSB in September 2008, it was confirmed that the new banking company would continue to print bank notes under the Bank of Scotland name.[2] According to the Bank Notes (Scotland) Act 1845, the bank could have lost its note-issuing rights, but by retaining headquarters within Scotland, banknote issue will continue.[3]

Bank of Scotland banknotes
Image Denomination Obverse Reverse
Tercentenary Series (1995)
[1] £5 Sir Walter Scott vignette of oil and energy
£10 vignette of distilling and brewing
[2] £20 vignette of education and research
£50 vignette of arts and culture
£100 vignette of leisure and tourism
Bridges of Scotland Series (2007)
£5 Sir Walter Scott the Brig o' Doon
£10 the Glenfinnan Viaduct
£20 the Forth Bridge
£50 the Falkirk Wheel
£100 the Kessock Bridge

Royal Bank of Scotland notes[edit]

A £100 Royal Bank of Scotland note

The current series of Royal Bank of Scotland notes was originally issued in 1987. On the front of each note is a picture of Lord Ilay (1682–1761), the first governor of the bank, based on a portrait painted in 1744 by the Edinburgh artist Allan Ramsay.[4] The front of the notes also feature an engraving of the bank's former headquarters in St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh. The background graphic on both sides of the notes is a radial star design which is based on the ornate ceiling of the banking hall in the old headquarters building.[5]

Occasionally the Royal Bank of Scotland issues commemorative banknotes. Examples include the £1 note issued to mark the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Alexander Graham Bell in 1997, the £20 note for the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2000, the £5 note honouring veteran golfer Jack Nicklaus in his last competitive Open Championship at St Andrews in 2005, and the £10 note issued in commemoration of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. These notes are much sought-after by collectors and they rarely remain long in circulation.

As of April 2016, the Royal Bank of Scotland is in the process of adopting a new series of banknotes. These will be made of polymer. Two have already been confirmed. The £5 note will show Nan Shepherd on the obverse accompanied by a quote from her book 'The Living Mountain', and the Cairngorms in the background. The reverse will display two mackerel, with an excerpt from the poem ‘The Choice’ by Sorley MacLean.[6]

The obverse of the £10 note will show Mary Somerville, with a quote from her work 'The Connection of the Physical Sciences', and Burntisland beach in the background. The reverse will display two otters and an excerpt from the poem ‘Moorings’ by Norman MacCaig.[7]

On the back of the notes are images of Scottish castles, with a different castle for each denomination:

Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes
Image Denomination Obverse Reverse
Ilay Series (1987)
£1 Lord Ilay Edinburgh Castle
£5 Culzean Castle
[3] £10 Glamis Castle
[4] £20 Brodick Castle
[5] £50 Inverness Castle (introduced 2005)
[6] £100 Balmoral Castle
Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes
Image Denomination Obverse Reverse
Polymer Series (2016)
[7] £5 Nan Shepherd mackerel
[8]| £10 Mary Somerville otters

Clydesdale Bank notes[edit]

Main article: Clydesdale Bank
A £20 note of the Clydesdale Bank Famous Scots Series
A World Heritage Series £5 Clydesdale Bank note featuring Sir Alexander Fleming.

Clydesdale Bank has two series of banknotes in circulation at present. Banknotes of the Famous Scots Series portray notable Scottish historical people along with items and locations associated with them.[8]

The new World Heritage Series of banknotes was introduced in autumn 2009. The new notes each depict a different notable Scot on the front and on the reverse bear an illustration of one of Scotland's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[9] The new series will eventually replace the Famous Scots Series when old notes are gradually removed from circulation.

In March 2015, the Clydesdale Bank became the first bank in Great Britain to issue polymer banknotes. The £5 commemorative notes, issued to mark the 125th anniversary of the construction of the Forth Bridge, contain several new security features including a reflective graphic printed over a transparent "window" in the banknote.[10][11]

The Clydesdale Bank also occasionally issues special edition banknotes, such as a 10-pound note celebrating the bank's sponsorship of the Scotland team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games

Clydesdale Bank banknotes
Denomination Obverse Reverse
Famous Scots Series
£5 Robert Burns vignette of a field mouse from Burns' poem To a Mouse
£10 Mary Slessor vignette of a map of Calabar, Nigeria, and African missionary scenes
£20 King Robert the Bruce vignette of the Bruce on horseback with the Monymusk Reliquary against a background of Stirling Castle
£50 Adam Smith vignette of industry tools against a background of sailing ships
£100 Lord Kelvin vignette of the University of Glasgow
World Heritage Series (2009)
£5 Sir Alexander Fleming vignette of St Kilda
£10 Robert Burns vignette of Edinburgh Old and New Towns
£20 King Robert the Bruce vignette of New Lanark
£50 Elsie Inglis vignette of the Antonine Wall
£100 Charles Rennie Mackintosh vignette of Neolithic Orkney
Polymer Series (2015)
£5 Sir William Arrol vignette of the Forth Bridge

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58254. p. 2544. 21 February 2007.
  2. ^ McIntosh, Lindsay; MacDonell, Hamish (19 September 2008). "Takeover 'may tip economy of Scotland into turmoil'". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  3. ^ MacLeod, Angus (18 September 2008). "Salmond rallies bank chiefs to rescue Scottish jobs". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  4. ^ "Archibald Campbell [Mac Cailein Mòr], 3rd Duke of Argyll, 1682 – 1761. Statesman". National Galleries of Scotland – Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Our Banknotes – The Ilay Series". The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. 2008. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  6. ^ "New RBS bank notes to feature Nan Shepherd and Mary Somerville". The Scotsman. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "New RBS bank notes to feature Nan Shepherd and Mary Somerville". The Scotsman. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Current Banknotes : Clydesdale Bank". Committee of Scottish Bankers. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Clydesdale launches Homecoming bank notes – Herald Scotland". 14 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  10. ^ "Clydesdale Bank brings in plastic £5 notes". BBC News. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Plastic £5 notes released by Clydesdale Bank in first for Scotland". STV. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.