Rare £10 notes: does your new ‘plastic’ Jane Austen tenner have a valuable serial number?

Updated on 28 September 2017 | 0 Comments

Rare £10 notes with valuable serial numbers are reportedly selling for thousands of pounds. Here, we explain how to spot a valuable Jane Austen £10 banknote.

The hunt for rare £10 notes has intensified following news that a new polymer Jane Austen tenner allegedly fetched £3,600 at auction on eBay.

As with the launch of the Winston Churchill fiver last year, collectors appear willing to pay well over face value for notes with a specific set of serial numbers.

The £10 note in question (pictured below) collected the eye-watering price because the serial number contains the sequence "1775"  the year Jane Austen was born.

Now, we would stress that the sale is not 100% guaranteed. Although the auction has ended and there was a winning bid accepted, the seller had not received the funds at the time of publishing this article. 

In the past, we have seen examples of people making fake bids on notes that they have no intention of actually fulfilling. 

So we'll need to wait and see if someone is indeed willing to pay such an exorbitant sum for a note.

In the meantime, we’ll explain in more detail what makes a note valuable, and how you can tell if your new £10 banknote is worth holding on to.

Jane Austen rare £10 note (Image: eBay - cwri2820)

Proceed with caution

The obvious place to start is to point out that the vast majority of notes will only be worth face value.

Only rare and sought-after notes will be valued higher, and even then, it’s usually not by much.

But you wouldn’t think that if you looked at various auction sites. There's no shortage of people selling supposedly “rare” and valuable” notes.

The sad truth is there's a lot of misinformation – and opportunistic sellers – out there, so you need to proceed with caution.

Pam West, founder of dealer British Notes, told loveMONEY about one instance where bids on an eBay listing went to £80,000.

At the same time, she had a very similar note on sale for £45.

In the end, the eBay auction winner never paid.

Andrew Pattison, a banknote specialist with auctioneers Spink & Son, warns that, if people read that a note has sold for thousands, they'll think they're getting a bargain when they see the same note for sale for hundreds of pounds.

In fact, that note could be worth little more than face value.

How to spot a valuable new £10 note

Rare £10 note: how to spot one (Image: Bank of England - Flickr)

That’s not to say you won’t be able to find a valuable new £10 Austen note. Looking at confirmed sales of the new fiver, it’s clear that notes with specific serial numbers are worth more than face value.

You can see the serial number circled in the bottom-right corner of the image below.

This number is broken into two parts, the first (which indicated the batch) is a combination of letters and numbers, and the second is a six-digit number (indicating what number it was in said batch).

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New Jane Austen £10 note (Image: Bank of England - Flickr)

In particular, you’re after ones with the lowest possible sequence.

For the first part, notes beginning with AA01 will be the most sought after. Match that with a low number in the second part of the sequence and you’re likely onto a winner.

Note that it’s impossible to get the very first note (AA01 000001), as this has already been handed to the Queen.

As we explained at the start (and in our “all you need to know” article), it’s possible that certain other Jane Austen notes could be worth more than face value.

For example, coin site changechecker.com speculates that the sequences ending …16 121775, and …18 071817 could prove valuable as they mark her birth and date of death respectively.


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