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Sunday, 21 August 2016

369) Charles Darwin (an English Naturalist): A Ten Pound U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England in 2000 (still in circulation):

369) Charles Darwin (an English Naturalist):  A Ten Pound U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England in 2000 (still in circulation):

                   The Front of the 10 Pound Banknote
On the Front of this 10 Pound Banknote is seen a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at right with her title “EIIR” (meaning “Elizabeth II Regina”). On the five nautilus shells on the left hand side of her title “EIIR” is mentioned a repeating numeral “10” increasing in height from left to right and vice versa on the lone nautilus shell towards the right of the title.

There is a seated Britannia as the logo of Bank of England at left. Denominations in numerals are in the top corners “10”. In the centre, the denomination “TEN Pounds” is mentioned in words.  

Interestingly, if one looks at the magnified picture of this Banknote, around the stylised nautilus representation is printed “Ten Pounds” several times over in ebbing semi-circles.

At the bottom is the copyright of “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 2000” (2000 being the year of introduction of this design of Banknote). The watermark is that of Queen Elizabeth II, from a few decades ago. On the watermark is easily visible the rings of the “Eurion Constellation” an anti-copying security device.
             The Back of the 10 Pound Banknote

On the Back of this 10 Pound Banknote is seen a portrait of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) who was an English Naturalist. On the left side in the foreground are a humming-bird and an illustration of Darwin’s own magnifying glass (an important accessory of a Naturalist) through which some flowers have been magnified, along with flora and fauna that he may have come across during his travels.

In the centre background is the ship, the HMS Beagle (signifying Darwin’s travels across oceans with the ship to study the natural flora and fauna in distant lands, in his capacity as a guest Naturalist abroad the HMS Beagle).

Behind the name of the issuing bank “Bank of England in large print, is printed in microscopic print “HMS Beagle” as well as “Bank of England” in straight and mirror images.

There is the stylised representation of a compass around which in circular lines are mentioned “Ten Pounds” and “Charles Darwin” and his life years 1809-1882. Emanating through the direction pointing lines from the stylised compass is the microscopic text “Bank of England” & “Ten Pounds”. On the outer edges of the stylised compass are mentioned the four directions “NESW” at intermittent intervals.

The watermark bears an oval inscription – “The Governor and Company of the Bank of England 2000”. Below Charles Darwin’s portrait is a facsimile of his signature with his life years – “1809-1882”.

The denomination of the Banknote is in numerals “10” on the top left hand & right hand corners & in the centre it is given in words “Ten POUNDS”.

 This 10 Pound Banknote on Charles Darwin was issued by the Bank of England on 07.11.2000 and is still in circulation.

The size of this Banknote is 142 mm x 75 mm. This Banknote is the second smallest in size and second lowest in denomination.

The Series of issue of this Banknote:

This Banknote was issued by the Bank of England under its “Series E”, which also included  George Stephenson (5 Pound Banknote), Charles Dickens (10 Pound Banknote), Michael Faraday (20 pound Banknote) and John Houblon (50 Pound Banknote), all of which stand withdrawn from circulation now, except for this Banknote, which is still in circulation.

Presently circulating Bank of England Banknotes:

Presently two denominations under “Series E (Revision)” – Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners in Newgate prison (5 Pound Banknote) and Charles Darwin, a hummingbird and HMS Beagle (10 Pound Banknote) and

Two denominations under “Series F” – Adam Smith with an illustration of the “division of labour in pin manufacturing” (20 Pounds Banknote) and Matthew Boulton & James Watt with steam engine and Boulton’s Soho factory (50 Pounds Banknote) are in circulation, issued by the Bank of England.

Polymer Banknotes – future plans:

Bank of England is now in the process of issuing polymer Banknotes, with a new 5 pound polymer Banknote scheduled to be released on 13th September 2016, (with Winston Churchill on the Back), a 10 Pound polymer Banknote in 2017 (with Jane Austen on the Back) and a 20 Pound polymer Banknote by 2020 (with JMW Turner on the Back).

There are currently no plans to replace the 50 Pound Banknote, featuring Boulton and Watt on the Back.

All Bank of England Banknotes are printed by the Banknote printing major – De La Rue – at their printing facility at Debden, Essex, England.

About Charles Darwin (1809-1882):

Charles Darwin was an eminent naturalist, geologist, biologist and author. He worked as a physician’s assistant and studied as a medical student for two years. He was also educated as a clergyman and trained in taxidermy.

He was born in Shrewsbury, into a prosperous middle-class intellectual family – his paternal grandfather was the scientist Erasmus Darwin, whose works contained some hints of the Evolutionary Theory of his grandson and his maternal grandfather was the potter, Josiah Wedgewood.

When he was 16, Charles was sent to Edinburgh University to study medicine. He hated medicine, having neither the aptitude nor the interest and somehow managed to complete two years of his course.

As a last resort and under paternal pressure, he went to Christ church College, Cambridge, where he was able to pursue his interest in the natural world in a more congenial atmosphere. He was encouraged in his pursuits by his cousin William Darwin Fox, who was an entomologist, as well as his Botany Professor John Stevens Henslow and he Cambridge University Professor of Geology, Adam Sedgewick, who also guided him in his interest in the natural world.

A Guest Naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle:

In January 1831, Charles passed his BA Exams at Cambridge. A decision for him to pursue his future in the church was cut short when a little later, the same year, he was selected as a guest Naturalist on board HMS Beagle, a 90 foot long, 24 foot wide vessel which carried 74 persons and was on a planned voyage of circumnavigation of the globe. At this time, Britain had the largest navy in the world and had a global empire.

 The voyage the Beagle took five years and the ship visited many places, which turned out to be a magnificent experience for Charles.

As a guest Naturalist, Darwin was responsible for making collections and notes about the animals, plants and the geology of the countries the ship sailed to. Darwin collected specimens everywhere the Beagle weighed anchor.

 He found huge fossils of recently extinct mammals, experienced an earthquake in Chile and noticed the land that had been raised. He discovered raised beaches elsewhere, high in the Andes, with fossil sea-shells and trees which had once grown on sandy beaches. He surmised that the earth was constantly changing, with land rising in some places and sinking in others. He collected birds and insects and sent shipments back to Cambridge for experts to identify and study.

At the Galapagos Islands, off the west coast of Ecuador, where the crew of the Beagle spent one month, Darwin was the first dedicated Naturalist to set foot upon the Islands. He meticulously studied the flora and fauna of the Islands, and noticed some birds were like the mockingbirds on the mainland, but different enough to be placed in a separate species. He was intrigued by the various species of birds that he found on the Galapagos Islands.

The voyage gave Darwin the chance to collect many specimens and make daily entries into his journal. His journals demonstrate not only his inquisitive mind, but also his scientific background and training.

His life after the Voyage on the Beagle:

On his return, he published his Journal notes in the book titled “Journal and remarks (The Voyage of the Beagle)”, in 1839.

Charles Darwin was a shy, retiring and modest man, and with his health seriously compromised by a tropical disease contracted whilst he was on board the Beagle, he preferred to withdraw from life at the Centre and in 1842, he moved to Down House in the village of Downe, Kent, where he spent the rest of his life. His family resources were sufficient to support himself and his large family in a comfortable style. The move gave Darwin the opportunity to think about, speculate upon and draw conclusions from his mass observations from the voyage on The Beagle.

His other writings and publications:

In 1859, he published the first edition of the book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural selection”. This work was a distillation and elaboration of his ideas first formulated on the voyage on The Beagle and was the development of a theory which he was working on to explain the richness and diversity of life observed while on board the HMS Beagle – the “Theory of Natural Selection”. Evolution by Natural Selection is the key to understanding biology and the diversity of life on Earth.

Darwin continued to study and write for the rest of his life. He wrote a series of papers that supplemented the theories of the “Origin of Species” and also some such as “The formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms”, which attest to his life as a country gentleman.

Some other books penned by him were – “Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S.Beagle, published in five parts and 19 numbers by various authors, edited and superintended by Charles Darwin, who contributed  sections to two of the Parts – Part 1 No.1 “Fossil Mammalia” and Part 2 No. 1 “Mammalia” (1838-43), “The structure and distribution of Coral Reefs” (1842), “Geological observations on South America” (1846), “Geology from “A manual of scientific enquiry, prepared for the use of Her Majesty’s Navy: and adapted for travellers in general” (1849), A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia” (1851), A Monograph on the Fossil Lepadidae or Pedunculated Cirripedes of Great Britain” (1851), “On the various contrivances by which British and foreign Orchids are fertilised by insects (1862), “On the movements and habits of climbing plants” (1865), “The variation of animals and plants under domestication” (1868), “The Descent of Man and selection in relation to sex” (1871), “The expression of emotions in Man and animals” (1872), “Insectivorous plants” (1875), “The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom” (1876), “The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species” (1877), “The power of movement in plants” (1880), “The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms” (1881).


Darwinism refers to the theory of Biological Evolution coined by Charles Darwin, which states that all species of organisms arise and develop through a process of natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive and reproduce.

It is also referred to as the Darwinian Theory and includes the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species”, which also included concepts which pre-dated Darwin’s theories.

On an extrapolative note, the Darwinian Theory has also been applied by proponents to the concepts of origin of life and that of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work.

(This Banknote is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. I too had saved a ten pound Banknote depicting Charles Darwin from my trip (“voyage”) to London in December 2006. Like Darwin, I too have retired to my home in Pune, India and am “exploring” the World through my hobby of collecting (“specimens”) of Coins, Banknotes and Stamps and penning my “observations” through this blog.)


Bank of England Banknotes:

1) A Ten Pounds Banknote issued on Charles Dickens (Writer) also depicting a cricket match from his novel "The Pickwick Papers"

2) A Ten Pound Banknote issued on Charles Darwin (English Naturalist) also depicting the HMS Beagle, Darwin's magnifying glass, a humming-bird & flora that he may have seen on his voyage.

Inspirations from Scottish History: 

1) The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Banknotes

Banknotes from Bank of Scotland:
1) Commemorating Sir William Arrol and his creation the Forth Rail Bridge by issues of Britain's first ever 5 Pound Polymer Banknote

British Crown Dependencies:

1) Specimen Banknotes from the States of Jersey

2) Coinage and Currency from the States of Jersey

3) Currency & Coinage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

4) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar : An Overseas Territory of Great Britain

5) Coinage of Gibraltar: (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by the Tower Mint, UK in 2010
6) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015

7) The Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.1912 - 15.04.2012): An Alderney Five Pound Coin Commemorating the Maritime Legend

8) "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps brought out in 2013 by Jersey post, the States of Jersey, commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill who played Superman in the Movie

9) Coins & Currency of Bermuda

10) The Bailiwick of Jersey - Presently circulating coinage - Pounds and Pence 

11) St. Helena & Ascension Islands: An Uncirculated Coin Set from 2003 

12) The Legend of the "HMAV Bounty" is interwoven with the heritage of the Pitcairn Islands: An uncirculated coin set from Pitcairn Islands in 2009 depicting the icons/relics of the Bounty minted by the New Zealand Mint 

Famous Battles

1) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to St. Helena: (Part I): A One Crown Commemorative coin issued by the Ascension Island (minted by Pobjoy Mint UK) 

2) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to st. Helena: (Part II) 1) A 5 GBP Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK. 2) A"Drie Landen Zilverset" ( ot the "Three Lands Silver set") containing coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint including coins of Netherlands, Belgium and UK

3) Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain by issuing a 50 Pence coin by the Royal Mint UK

Gold Coins:
1) Gold Sovereigns issued in 2013 & 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, carrying the "I" Mint Mark

2) Gold Half-Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in India in 2014 under licence from the Royal Mint UK bearing the "I" Mint Mark 

Silver Coins:

1) A 20 Pound Silver coin minted for the first timr by the royal Mint UK: reverse design carries the famous St. George slaying the dragon design found on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

 1) East India Company Quarter Anna Copper Coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

2) Victoria Coinage: When she was Queen and afterwards Empress

3) Edward VII: King & Emperor  Coinage

4) George V King Emperor Coinage

5) George VI: The last of the British India Emperors Coinage 

Other British Royalty: 

1) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (1952-2012): A Five Pound Commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

2) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin minted by the Royal Mint UK in 2013, depicting the Imperial State Crown

3) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great British 2012 Coin Set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint UK

4) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013

5) The British Empire:  A Case of Numismatic "segregation": (Guest Post by Rahul Kumar)

6) 1) The Portrait Collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage 2) The Fourth & Final Circulating coinage of the Portrait designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the First Edition of the portrait of the Queen made by Jody Clark

 British Coinage:

1) The contribution of the Great British One-Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the UK (1983 onwards)

2) Transformation of a Five shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five Pence & then the Five Pound Coin

3) Transformation of the Two Shilling Coin (Florin) Coin into the UK Ten Pence

4) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK celebrating the milestone

 Commemorative British Coinage:

 1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dickens: A Two pound coin celebrating his literary contributions during the Victorian Era

 2) Commemorating 50 Years of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - presently called the World Wide Fund for Nature by issue of a Fifty Pence coin by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Coins commemorating London Olympics & Paralympics (2012)

4) Commemorating 150 Years of the London Underground : Two pound Coins minted by the Royal Mint UK, showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel 

5) Commemorating the 100th Birth anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his" Royal Arms" design on a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

6) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal Guidepost to Liberty and Freedom