Collectors are on the hunt for the last banknotes printed featuring the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Money emblazoned with the image of King Charles will begin to enter circulation next year, so collectors believe that notes featuring the much-loved late monarch will not only have significant sentimental value, but perhaps financial value too.
Each banknote has its own unique serial number that will date and identify it, and now This Is Money has revealed the codes to look out for.
If you run into a £5, £10, £20 or £50 note and it has the right code, it may be worth far more than the value it says it is.
Collectors have always been on the lookout for rare banknotes and coins. In 2016, one of the first polymer £5 banknotes sold for a whopping £4,150 – 830 times its original value.
Banknote serial numbers are 10 digits long and feature two letters followed by two numbers, before a space and then another six numbers.
The Bank of England has told The Mail on Sunday the first two numbers and letters on the last printed notes featuring Queen Elizabeth II for each of the four denominations.
The prefixes – known as cyphers – are as follows:
If you have any notes with these codes on them, it may be worth storing them in a safe place rather than spending them.
The last lot of £5 notes displaying the Queen were printed in July 2018 with the last £10 notes coming out in December 2020. The final £20 notes were printed a month following her death in October 2022 and the last £50 notes in April of the same year.
Richard Beale, a valuer at Warwick & Warwick, had some pearls of wisdom to share: “In our June sale, a 1960 £1 A01 000122, which was the first with a portrait of Elizabeth II, sold for £380.
“We would expect a similar premium for the last Elizabeth II banknotes.”
Arnas Savickas, head of banknotes in Europe and the USA at Spink and Son, shared Richard’s sentiment: “Although we cannot provide guidance in terms of the value of these notes, it is most likely collectors will want to have the last prefixes of QE II notes in their collections in mint or near- mint condition.
“It would more likely fit that the last amount of numbers will be more sought after rather than sheets in which they were printed.
“There is likely to be interest in the last 5,000 to some extent, however the last 1,000 or even 100 is going to be where collectors will put their focus.”
Simon Narbeth, who runs the International Bank Note Society and is co-founder of banknote store Colin Narbeth & Son Ltd, believes the final notes of Queen Elizabeth may fetch a fortune: “The possibility of owning one of the last Queen notes is very exciting. Thanks to The Mail on Sunday’s investigation, we now know what the last printed notes are likely to be.
“The problem is, I don’t know of any last high serial numbers to go for a really high price in the past – but this last Queen run is likely to buck the trend. If sold at a charity auction this could create a new record.”