Bank of England notes its 325 years with trip back in time

phys.org | 6/20/2019 | Staff
chrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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Some of the earliest surviving banknotes and a Cold War nuclear radiation calculator are among 325 historic objects unearthed by the Bank of England to celebrate its 325th anniversary.

Britain's central bank is the second oldest in the world after that of Sweden, and its trip back through time means returning to the days when its banknotes were written by hand.

Exhibits - Note - Sum - Time - £9

Among the exhibits are a £40 note dating from 1702—a huge sum at the time, worth more than £9,000 ($11,000, 10,000 euros) nowadays.

There is also a forged banknote, which first appeared in 1858 when a customer tried to exchange it for gold.

Counterfeit - Someone - Stamp - Time - Bank

It was stamped as counterfeit and handed back, but then reappeared in 1898 after being presented again, with someone having painstakingly managed to erase the stamp. This time the bank kept it.

"It's a very intriguing story on how people always try their luck," said Jenni Adam, curator of the Bank of England Museum, noting that capital punishment was the penalty for counterfeit money until 1832.

Miranda - Garrett - BoE - Collections - Exhibitions

Miranda Garrett, the BoE's collections and exhibitions manager, added: "The bank is always working very hard to improve security of its banknotes."

'The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street'

July - Bank - England - People - Government

When it was founded in late July 1694, the Bank of England employed just 19 people and mainly served to support government borrowing.

A century later in 1797, it gained its nickname "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street"—the London thoroughfare it stands on—when a cartoon depicted the institution as an old dame sat firmly on the money chest, rejecting the seductive advances of the prime minister, William Pitt the Younger.

Inception - Employees - Today - Purpose

Although it has expanded considerably since its inception, with 4,000 employees today, its purpose remains much the same.

"The...
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