Featured Note of the Month: May 2019

Posted on 5/21/2019

A series of notes issued by the Bank of England from 1970 to the early 1990s feature major figures in British history, such as Florence Nightingale, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Isaac Newton.

Great Britain, Bank of England, Pick# 379a, ND (1975-80), £10, front
PMG graded 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click image to enlarge.

Great Britain, Bank of England, Pick# 379a, ND (1975-80), £10, back
PMG graded 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click image to enlarge.

Country: Great Britain
Catalog Number: Pick# 379a
Date: ND (1975-80)
Denomination: £10
Varieties: There are five additional varieties of issued notes for this catalog number, with different signatures and security features. The a-variety, featured here, has the signature of Chief Cashier J.B. Page.

What makes it special? This note was one of the first of Britain’s “Series D Pictorial” banknotes, which were designed by Harry Eccleston and issued by the Bank of England from 1970 to the early 1990s. Though the obverse of each note features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (standard of all modern British currency), the reverse sides show various major figures in British history, such as William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Isaac Newton. The £10 note shown here depicts Florence Nightingale.

Why is it interesting now? International Nurses Day is on May 12th, which also happens to be Florence Nightingale’s birthday — and what better way to celebrate both than with a banknote featuring the mother of modern nursing herself? After caring for wounded soldiers in deplorable conditions during the Crimean War, Nightingale devoted her life to improving health care standards and training new nurses at the Nightingale School for Nurses. The back of this banknote commemorates her work with a photograph of Nightingale standing at the right, and the center shows a lithographed scene of her making her rounds at a hospital, with her iconic lamp in hand. Even the front of the note has a subtle homage to Nightingale’s work, with her personal lily symbol dead center, to the left of the Queen.

Did you know? Though she is best known for her work in nursing, Nightingale was also a gifted statistician. In fact, her propensity for mathematics is what made many of her improvements possible — she was able to present empirical data showing that unsanitary conditions were contributing to a higher death rate, and was therefore able to successfully lobby for the standardized sanitation practices that have saved so many lives throughout the years.

Total graded by PMG: 109

PMG median grade: The median grade for these notes is 66 EPQ.

PMG highest graded: 68 EPQ

Sales highlights: PMG-graded notes can be purchased online for $100-$200. Ungraded notes may be available for less.

PMG Registry Champion: There are a few different possible registry sets for this banknote, but we will focus on the Queen Elizabeth II Portrait Set, 1960-Date, P373-Date. The current highest score is 19523, with a 56% completion rate.

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