Cash4coins Blog

Things You Probably Don’t Know About UK Currency (But Should Know)

Moolah, cash, wedge, wonga the list goes on. No matter how you look at it, money really does make the world go round; we all need it, and we’d all like rather more of it.

However, our UK currency has rather a lot of history attached to it or rather some bizarre but interesting facts. We have put together some of the best ones we have found. Before you ask, no you can’t have a pound for every one you have heard before.

The direction of the Monarch faces on coins changes with each appointment

God save the Queen! However, when we finally do have a new monarch, the first job for them will be to approve a likeness of their face which will adorn the currency for the nation. Here is hoping the new monarch be it Prince Charles or Prince William left side is their best side as that is what we will be seeing when we hand over the cash. New currency will be phased in over time once a new monarch has been appointed and will take around three years to complete.

Two coins weigh the same as one coin!

What you may say! But it is true. Two 1p coins weigh the same as one 2p coin and two 5p coins weigh the same as one 10p coin. We bet that surprised you!

It’s true a million pound note and £100m notes do really exist

While the £50 note is the highest-value banknote in general circulation in the UK, deep down (and we are talking way deep) in the Bank of England’s vaults, there are a small number of real £1m and £100m notes respectively known as “giants” and “titans. They are not supposed to ever appear on the streets, but instead play a role in the financial system by backing the value of the everyday notes issued by commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland; according to the BBC, “for every pound an authorised Scottish or Northern Irish bank wants to print in the form of its own notes, it has to deposit the equivalent amount in sterling with the Bank of England.”
Imagine popping into your local shop with a million pound note and needing change!

How the Farthing came about

Between 1860 and 1956 the farthing was in use. It was worth one quarter of a penny and spanned six monarchs. Farthing was a corruption of ‘fourthing’, which makes total sense when you think about it, and yet we’d never thought about it before. As far back as 1060, an English coin which was minted was shaped like a clover – any of the four leaves could then be broken off and used as separate pieces of currency.

The Brits are world leaders at counterfeiting

In these uncertain times, where Britain is increasingly uncertain of its place in the global world order, it’s truly comforting to know that we’re still good at important things, like counterfeiting bank notes. According to the central banks, there are 300 fake notes in every one million sterling notes, compared to 100 for the US dollar, 50 for the Euro and 10 for the Swiss franc. It’s amazing what you can do with a scanner and a decent printer isn’t it? But we don’t recommend you try this at home!

The Nazis tried to flood the UK with counterfeit notes during the Second World War

In an effort to devalue British currency and destabilise the economy, Nazi Germany produced huge quantities of counterfeit sterling notes during the Second World War. By 1945, a staggering 12 per cent of the value of notes in circulation were fake. They tackled the problem by removing higher denomination notes from circulation, and putting metal threads through new notes, to make them harder to forge. Churchill himself would surely have approved of his image adorning the new polymer fivers, which are designed to be the hardest to copy yet.

Stamps are not legal tender

Despite what David Brent form the Office might think, stamps are not, in fact, legal tender. In the words of the Royal Mint: “While you are free to accept stamps as payment for a service or goods, there is no legal obligation for you to accept them when offered and you have no legal recourse if payment in stamps is refused!”

Don’t go having any funny ideas about paying fines in pennies

Despite regular stories of disgruntled motorists paying their parking fines using nothing but pennies, be advised that the council is under no obligation to accept them. While relevant parties can choose to accept any type of payment they wish – be they coins or otherwise – in England and Wales, restrictions apply on sums below £1, where they are only obligated to accept the following amounts: Up to £10 in 20p, up to £5 in 10p and 5p, and up to just 20p in 2p and 1p.

The £5 note is not indestructible

If you haven’t already tried we have!

It is not illegal to burn money

Before you rush to report us for the above crime, it is a little-known fact that it is not illegal to burn money – as long as you destroy it. However, defacing money is subject to a penalty under the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1928. The reason for this is that damaged notes could be kept in circulation, whereas destroying them simply lowers the money supply – inadvertently gifting everyone else in the UK a very small proportion of the money that you have destroyed, as the total value of the remaining currency remains the same as previously. The K Foundation (parent organisation of The KLF) famously burned a million pounds in 1994, but would not have faced any charges for this act. Ironically, they had already been fined £9,000 plus £500 reprint costs for defacing that million pounds when they’d previously nailed a load of £50 notes to an art gallery wall.

The use of gold in coins ended when the First World War broke out

Prior to 1914, the gold sovereign, worth £1 was in circulation in the UK. However, upon the outbreak of war, the government asked the public to hand in their sovereigns, as the gold could be used to pay off international debt, support the Bank of England’s reserves and fund the war effort – in its place came the £1 and £10 notes. By the summer of 1915, gold had all but disappeared from circulation.

There’s a gloriously huge amount of cockney rhyming slang terms

Cockney rhyming slang has given us myriad examples of wonderful wordplay and, the East Enders seem to be more than a little obsessed with money – perhaps due to the City of London’s activities on its doorstep. So, just so you know how to do that next dodgy deal down the Ten Bells and you want to speak the proper lingo, here is your official translation guide:

Archer = £2000
Bag of Sand = £1000
Grand = £1000
Monkey = £500
Carpet = £300 (in car dealing)
Ton = £100
Carpet = £30
Pony = £25, Macaroni = £25
Apple Core = £20
Score = £20
Speckled Hen = £10
Uncle Ben = £10
Nigel Been = £10
Paul McKenna = £10
Ayrton (Senna) = Tenner
Lady (Godiva) = Fiver
Taxi Driver = £5

Coppers are not made of copper, but non-copper coins are made of copper

That’s right, since 1992, 1p and 2p coins have been made of steel, (albeit plated with copper), while every coin worth more than 10p is made mostly of copper. Prior to 1992, 1p and 2p coins were made of bronze (97% copper), but by May 2006, these coins contained 3p worth of copper, which was confusing for everyone involved.

The M11 has an exit but not an entry on Junction 5 to prevent would-be thieves escaping

The M11, a brilliant motorway completed back in 1980 that linked London and Cambridge, But an interesting story surrounds the mysterious junction 5, at which you can leave the motorway, but cannot join it to go Northbound, or Southbound. There’s no clear reason why this isn’t a fully functioning junction but legend has it that there is no entry due to its proximity to the De La Rue Currency factory – which prints banknotes for the Bank of England. This way, any potential bank robbers wouldn’t be able to quickly make good their escape onto a motorway and out of London. While we agree this is not a facet, we are certain no authorities will be in a hurry to confirm this!


The easiest ways to exchange Spanish pesetas you have lying around

When Spain joined the eurozone back in 2002, the Spanish Peseta became illegal currency and obsolete. Over the years many other countries have joined the euro and many people are sitting on an amount of defunct foreign currency. Cash4Coins offer a simple facility to exchange Spanish pesetas and other obsolete foreign currency.

The average household in Britain has over £65 million worth of leftover foreign currency lying around in empty drawers.  Total this up and collectively this equates to a massive £1.8 billion sitting gathering dust. It should be noted this also includes all currencies, not just obsolete ones.

While this currency is now no longer legal tender, it is still worth something, even after all the time that has elapsed.  If you have any obsolete foreign currency including notes and coins, Cash4Coins will accept all this defunct currency and convert it back into cash. Many charities and fundraising organisations are now collecting leftover foreign currency to raise the much needed funds they require.

Pesetas are a popular leftover currency that most people tend to have, some even going back to 1970 up to the point Spain joined Europe. You have until 31st December 2020 to get rid of your Spanish pesetas so if you are travelling to Spain you can take them with you and exchange them at Spain’s central bank (Banco de España). If you are not going to Spain then we can exchange them for you.

We accept coins and notes from over 150 currencies from pesetas, francs, deutschmark, even old Irish notes.

Top 10 currencies gathering dust:

  1. Euros
  2. American Dollars
  3. Swiss Francs
  4. German deutschmarks
  5. Spanish pesetas
  6. French francs
  7. Italian lire
  8. Irish pounds
  9. Canadian dollars
  10. Australian dollars

When it comes to choosing how to exchange foreign coins and notes we know that you want a fast, simple, open and honest service – and that’s what you get with Cash 4 Coins. We are trusted by the public sector, national charities, banks, businesses, schools and hospitals to exchange foreign coins and (of course) to provide the best rates in the UK.

For your peace of mind we are registered under the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR) and our activities are regulated by HM Revenue & Customs. We are also proud to be a member of the IBNS, the International Bank Note Society.

 


British holidaymakers have £2.7 billion worth of unused currency

It has been revealed that households in the UK could be sitting on a goldmine worth over more than £2.7 billion.

The nation’s 34.8 million holidaymakers on average bring home around £78 worth of leftover foreign currency after every holiday. Collectively added up annually, the amount is a staggering £2.7billion of leftover coins and notes sitting idle.

On average British holidaymakers take approximately £1400 spending money when travelling abroad. The £78 leftover cash is usually the cost of a meal or perhaps an excursion. However, regular travellers among us usually fail to use leftover currency as they feel it is not a considerable amount, so they fail to spend it.

Buy back rates can be poor and could result in you being short changed. Even selling on to a friend or family member may not be the best option.  If the amount is small, many charities are now accepting this currency as part of their fundraising.

Leftover foreign currency and old UK coins and notes are an easy way to raise valuable funds for charities and non-profit organisations. Banks will not change foreign coins or small denomination banknotes which means that many people have unwanted foreign coins and notes that could be going to waste.

Here at Cash4Coins we offer a coin sorting facility where we will buy back the currency and change it into cash. We want to help charities continue with the outstanding range of help and support services for people who have terminal illness. You can help too by donating any leftover foreign currency as well as old British and Irish coins and notes.

We work with many charitable organisations, banks, airports and large companies to buy back leftover coins and notes.


Millions of unspent and redundant currency in circulation

Research conducted by Cash4Coins, a company who deal with coin processing and coin sorting concluded that 27% of people have left over foreign currency. Even after people try and spend it at duty free or leave it in a drawer, there is still over £819 million of redundant currency floating around.

Cash4Coins offer a coin sorting and coin processing service which takes all this redundant currency and turns it back into currency. This ‘BuyBack’ process enables all redundant currency to be sent to us to be exchanged to cash which can then be donated to a charity, cause or fundraiser.  This process is a great way of raising funds for many charities. Many airports use our services to raise money for charitable causes.

A huge amount of money goes to waste every year, the service we provide enables us process leftover currency sent to us which can then be donated to a charity.

We provide coin sorting services for many hospitals, charities, businesses, banks and other public sector organisations who raise money via fundraising.  Cash4Coins activities are 100% regulated by HM Revenue & Customs and we are proud to be a member of IBNS, the International Bank Note Society.

Money Laundering Regulations (MLR)

If you are looking at coin processing and currency sorting for transactions of a high value, by law we are required to implement the enhanced Money Laundering Regulation Checks

Cash4Coins service is tailored to customer requirements. Our process is a fast and simple way to exchange and process foreign coins into usable funds.


Top Safety Accreditation for Cash 4 Coins

Cash 4 Coins has been awarded accreditation from Alcumus SafeContractor for achieving excellence in health and safety in the workplace.

Alcumus SafeContractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises extremely rigorous standards in health and safety management amongst contractors. It is used by thousands of organisations in the UK including SMEs and FTSE 100 companies.

Cash 4 Coins is principally involved in the bulk exchange of foreign coins and banknotes, specialising in the airline and charity industries.

The company’s application for SafeContractor accreditation was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business. SafeContractor accreditation will enhance the company’s ability to win new contracts, and its commitment to safety will be viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal.

SafeContractor Accreditation Sticker B

Gemma Archibald, Director of Alcumus SafeContractor said: “Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place.”

“More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Cash 4 Coins has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector. SafeContractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.”


All about the new £10 note

banner18th July, 2017 was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. The Bank of England unveiled the new £10 note on this day which has Jane Austen on the back. The new note “will recognise her universal appeal and enduring contribution to English literature”, Winchester Cathedral said in a statement concerning the launch.

“There can be no better place to unveil the new £10 banknote, featuring Jane Austen, and there can be no better time than today, the 200th anniversary of her death,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said at the launch.

The new £10 note enters circulation on 14th September. “The £10 paper banknote is the oldest Bank of England banknote design in circulation and therefore the security features require updating to take advantage of developments in technology,” the Bank said in a recent paper.

Production of the new £10 polymer note began last August and the Bank has already printed more than 275 million notes, but they’re not quite ready to launch yet. The new note will be smaller than the current one – but larger than the new fiver. The size ratios will be the same as the ones between the old paper fiver and paper tenner. It will be made of the same materials as the new five pound note too.

The new £10 has a few distinct features about it.

Tactile feature
The front has raised print. Two clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner. This tactile feature will be particularly helpful to blind people or partially sighted people to help them identify the value of the note. The polymer £20 will also have a tactile feature, but with a different pattern. The polymer £5 will be identifiable as the only polymer note without a tactile feature.

Cleaner, safer, stronger
The beauty of polymer notes is their strength. They are more cleaner and ultimately last longer than paper notes. Polymer notes are more resilient to dirt and moisture so they will stay cleaner much longer than paper notes. The enhanced security features make them very difficult to be counterfeited. A polymer note is not indestructible; however, wear and tear is far longer than paper notes with a lifetime expectancy of 2.5 times more than a paper note.

What do I need to do?

Absolutely nothing, the current £10 notes will gradually be withdrawn as retailers and businesses bank them. The note can still be used until the Spring of 2018 when it will be withdrawn from circulation. The Bank of England will give 3 months’ notice prior to withdrawal.


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