Whether you love them or hate them, it’s fair to say that when the Bank of England issued the very first polymer banknotes, UK currency was revolutionised. As well as refreshing the designs of the notes, these polymer versions were considered a cleaner, safer and stronger alternative.

In 2016 it was the £5 that received the first makeover, and Winston Churchill was selected to feature on the note. Jane Austen soon followed on the £10 note and now, as chosen by the British public, renowned artist JMW Turner graces the new £20 polymer note.

But it’s not only the design that makes this note special. You see, the Bank of England have described this note as the most secure banknote yet. So, I’m of course curious to see what special security features have been worked into the design of our newest banknote…

Britain’s most secure banknote

Before the revolutionary polymer £20 came along, there were over 2 billion £20 paper notes in circulation. The sheer volume of them made the £20 note Britain’s most used, and consequently most forged, banknote.

So it’s understandable that the need to make it difficult to counterfeit was at the forefront of the designer’s mind! The result? A whole host of special features that make it harder to forge and stand out from other notes in circulation.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the security features incorporated into the design:

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Front of 2020 polymer £20 note. Credit: Bank of England
  • Transparent windows – the foil in the large see-through window is blue and gold on the front, and silver on the back. Plus, there’s a second, smaller window in the bottom corner.
  • Changing holograms – the hologram beneath the large clear pane will alternate between reading ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ depending on what way you tilt the note.
  • The Queen’s portrait in the transparent window – the Queen’s portrait is printed on the window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.
  • Foil patches – a silver foil patch contains a 3D image of the coronation crown. There is a second purple foil patch which contains the letter ‘T’.
  • Ultra-violet technology – under UV light, the number ’20’ appears in bright red and green on the front of the note, against a duller background.
  • Raised dots – you’ll find three clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner. This tactile feature helps blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note.

JMW Turner design

When choosing the design for the £20 note, the Bank of England were spoilt for choice. They received over 29,000 nominations submitted by the general public. And the choice to select JMW Turner makes him the first British artist to ever feature on a UK banknote.

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Back of 2020 polymer £20 note. Credit: Bank of England

The note itself features Turner’s 1799 self-portrait, which is currently housed in the Tate Modern in London. And behind this you’ll notice one of his most recognisable works – The Fighting Temeraire. This famous painting is a tribute to the ship that played a pivotal role in in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The final nod to Turner in the design comes from the quote “light is therefore colour”, alongside the signature taken from his will. The quote is taken from a lecture Turner gave in 1818 and is a reference to his innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone.

What do you think about the new £20 Polymer note? Let us know in the comments!


If you’re interested…

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If you’re looking for a way to own this significant, revolutionary piece of British currency, then look no further than the UK 2020 £20 Polymer Banknote DateStamp™ issue. Each DateStamp™ issue has been postmarked by Royal Mail with the note’s first day of release – 20th February 2020 – forever ensuring its provenance.

First issues are always valued by collectors and by owning the DateStamp™ issue you will be one of just 2,500 collectors able to forever mark the date the new £20 polymer banknote entered circulation. We have a limited number available, so click here to find out more >>

Earlier this year we received some incredible news, something that we would have never anticipated so soon, we hit another incredible company milestone.

Through the sales of commemorative Remembrance and Poppy-themed coins, collectors have helped raise an incredible £1.1 Million for The Royal British Legion!

This is an achievement that everyone is immensely proud of, and we are hugely thankful to collectors for helping raise such an amazing amount.

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£1.1 Million raised means you could have funded 45 specialist case workers dedicated to meeting the unique needs of the UK Armed Forces Community.

We are delighted to see that our 16 years partnership with The Royal British Legion has raised such an amazing amount to support the Armed Forces community and their families.

This of course is no doubt in-part due to the fantastic reception that the 2019 Remembrance Day coins received when they were issued last year, including the First Official Remembrance Poppy £2 Coin.

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We are all excited to see our longstanding partnership continue later this year when we’ll launch our brand new range of Poppy commemorative coins. If you’re interested in finding out about when they go on sale then make sure you like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, where we announce all of our latest release news!

If you’d like to find out more about the fantastic work that The Royal British Legion do and why we are so proud of this milestone £1.1 Million that has been raised for the charity, then read on…


The Royal British Legion provides lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. People need help for many different reasons. They may be facing employment issues or financial difficulties, or may need help related to housing, homelessness or living independently. They may face mental and physical health challenges, need care in later life or need help building local community connections. Whatever issues people face, the Legion’s staff and volunteers are trained so they can direct enquiries to the most appropriate service. And, if there is ever a reason that they can’t help, the Legion’s vast network of partner charities and organisations means that they will know someone who can.

To find out more about The Royal British Legion, please click here.

This year we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The day which marked the end of World War II in Europe and brought long-awaited peace to our nation.

To commemorate this historic anniversary, and one of the most important dates of the 20th century, not one, not two… BUT SEVEN BRAND NEW 50p coins have been authorised for release.

Watch Adam and Yasmin in our latest video where they went LIVE to find out everything you need to know about these brand new 50ps.


If you’re interested

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Click here to add the Victory 50ps to your collection >>