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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

323) Charles John Huffam Dickens (07.02.1812- 09.06.1870): A ten Pound U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England celebrating his first Novel “The Pickwick Papers” & his literary contributions during the Victorian Era (issue date:29.04.1992: Date of withdrawal: 31.07.2003):

323) Charles John Huffam Dickens (07.02.1812- 09.06.1870):  A Ten Pounds U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England  celebrating his first Novel “The Pickwick Papers”  & his literary contributions during the Victorian Era (issue date:29.04.1992: Date of withdrawal: 31.07.2003):

(In 2012, the Royal Mint, UK brought out a two-Pound coin commemorating the bicentenary of Charles Dickens by celebrating his literary works & creating his profile outline on the Reverse of the coin from the titles of Dickens’s famous works, from his early writings “Sketches by Boz” to his final and unfinished novel “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. For more on this Commemorative coin, please click: here)

 The Front of the Ten Pounds Banknote depicting Charles Dickens

On the Front of this 10 Pounds Banknote is seen a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at right. There is a seated Britannia as the logo of Bank of England at left. Denominations in numerals are in the top corners. In the centre, the denomination “TEN Pounds” is mentioned in words.

Interestingly, If one looks at the magnified picture of this Banknote, then one can see the names of various Dickens novels/works towards the right of the numeral “10” on the top left and around the words “Bank of England” like “Nicholas Nickleby, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Christmas Carol “etc. (“Jolly good work” by the  Bank of England designers & engravers).

At the bottom is the copyright of “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1993”. The watermark is that of Queen Elizabeth II, from a few decades ago.
 The Back of the Ten Pounds Banknote depicting a portrait of Charles Dickens and "The Cricket Match Dingley dell against all Muggleton from the Pickwick Papers, 1936"

On the Back of this 10 Pounds Banknote is seen a portrait of Charles Dickens (1812-1870) who was an English writer and social critic. On the left side in the foreground is “The Cricket Match Dingley Dell against all Muggleton from the Pickwick Papers, 1836”, (in full, the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club novel by Charles Dickens). 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”.

 At the bottom is the copyright of “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1993”.

This 10 Pounds Banknote on Charles Dickens was issued by the Bank of England on 29.04.1992 and was withdrawn from circulation on 31.07.2003. It is now a Collector’s item.

The size of this Banknote is 142 mm x 75 mm.

This Banknote was issued by the Bank of England under its “Series E”, which included George Stephenson (5 Pound Banknote), Charles Dickens (10 Pound Banknote), Michael Faraday (20 pound Banknote) and John Houblon (50 Pound Banknote). All these Banknotes issued under “Series E” stand withdrawn from circulation now.

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.

The Pickwick Papers:

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (also known as “The Pickwick Papers” was Charles Dickens’s first novel. The success of “Sketches by Boz” (Dickens’s pseudonym) led to the commissioning of the Pickwick Papers Project. The novel was published in 19 issues over 20 months commencing from March 1836 and ending in October 1837.

The book became a publishing phenomenon with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller (a character in the Novel) joke books et al. The novel was adapted to films, television and the radio on several occasions and through different periods of time, including even a one hour long animation film titled “Charles Dickens Ghost Stories” in 1987.

In 1985, BBC released a 12 part 350 minute mini-series on the Novel.

A brief about the story of Pickwick Papers:

The Pickwick Papers has Samuel Pickwick as the main character and Founder and perpetual President of the Pickwick Club. He is portrayed as a kindly, round faced, clean shaven, portly gentleman wearing spectacles.

Samuel Pickwick, with a view to extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life, suggests that he and three other “Pickwickians” – Nathan Winkle, Augustus Snodgrass and Tracy Tupman – make journeys to remote places from London and report their findings to other members of the Club.

Their travels throughout the English countryside by coach provide the main theme of the story. A highlight of the story is the realistic description of the old coaching inns of England.

The story adds on several memorable characters as it moves along, with each character being drawn comically and often with exaggerated traits.

Through humour Dickens admirably captures the quintessential aspects of English life in the mid-nineteenth century.

The popularity of the novel was partly due to the fact that the readers of his time were able to see themselves in some of the characters and could accept themselves because of Dickens’s humorous/subtle presentation style.

It is presumed that in the novel, Dickens was satirizing the case of George Norton suing Lord Melbourne.

Dickens Facts:

-       Charles Dickens was born on 07.02.1812 and spent an idyllic childhood, first in has birth-place Portsmouth and later in Chatham, Kent. Dickens spent the happiest days of his childhood in Chatham (1817-22) where he was sent to school and began reading voraciously.

-      His father John Dickens was a clerk in the Naval Pay Office and amassed huge debts to maintain his family of a wife and 7 children, including Charles. (His father’s character has been immortalized by Charles as the ridiculous, but endearing Mr. Micawber in “David Copperfield”).

-      The family then moved to London in 1822 where they lived in Camden Town (A flourishing Flea Market – present day). In due course, his father was imprisoned for debt when Charles was 12 years old and he (Charles) had to work in a blacking/shoe polish factory “Warrens Blacking Factory”, Hungerford Market, London, near Charing Cross Station, on the Thames, pasting labels on bottles on a pay of six shillings a week, while his family was in Marshalea debtor’s prison in 1824. (I suppose, that in today’s age of more awareness about children/minors and laws against minors doing manual labour/working on a job , Charles may not have found himself at manual work , but then it was a time when there was a great divide between the Nobility/wealthy and the Commoners).

-       By the time his father had been declared insolvent, Charles and his family had faced innumerable hardships which were characterized through his novels, characters and writings.

-      In 1824-27, Charles studied at Wellington House Academy, London, and at Mr. Dawson’s School in 1827.

-      Later, from 1827 to 1828, Dickens found a position as a clerk at the office of Ellis and Blackmore, solicitors at Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn. Realising that Law was not his calling, he studied shorthand and free-lanced as a court reporter at Doctor’s Commons.

-      Charles became deeply interested in social reforms and took up an assignment with “The Mirror of Parliament” (1832-34) and “True Sun” newspaper (1830-32) which was radical in its views and also wrote short stories for the “Morning Chronicle” (1834-36), under the pen name “Boz” (Sketches by Boz was a collection of his early writings published in 1836). He also contributed to “Monthly Magazine” and the “Evening Chronicle” and edited “Bentley’s Miscellany” (1836).

-      In 1840s he founded “Master Humphrey’s Cloak” and edited the “London Daily News”.

-      His insight into life’s experiences born out of the hardships that his family had faced, was given wings by his rich imagination, tremendous humour and keen social sensibilities which went towards his writing stories which were immensely enthralling and brought to life the hardships of the Victorian era leaving the readers on several occasions reflective as well as with a tinge of sadness.

-      The young Dickens was very good-looking and often described as a fop with his flashy waistcoats, jewellery and flowing long hair. During his lifetime, he was the most famous writer in Europe and America. It is said that when he visited America to deliver a series of lectures in 1842 and later in 1867, his fans followed him everywhere – outside his hotel, in Railway Cars, restaurants, almost like a superstar of today.

-       He is considered to be the greatest writer of the Victorian era and has some of English literature’s most iconic novels and characters to his credit. During his lifetime his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity and accolades and are equally popular today. His genius gained currency during the mid-nineteenth century when interest in his works was recognized afresh by critics and scholars.

-      Many of his works were originally published in monthly instalments, a format of publication that Dickens himself helped popularise. He often revised his plots and characters on the basis of reader’s responses to a published episode and his readers anxiously looked forward to the next episode – much like the popular “soaps” on today’s television serials.

-      His works have been highly praised by eminent Writers like Leo Tolstoy, George Orwell, and G.K. Chesterton etc. for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterizations and social criticism.

-      His nineteenth century readers included Queen Victoria, Vincent Van Gogh and Karl Marx.

 Philanthropic work:

In May 1846, Dickens set up a home for the redemption of fallen women called “Urania Cottage” in the Lime Grove section of Shepherds Bush. He became involved in many aspects of its day-to-day functioning and scoured prisons and workhouses for rescuing such women. All these women were required to emigrate following their stay in Urania Cottage. It is estimated that at least 100 residents of Urania Cottage graduated and went to live in Canada, America, and Australia etc.

Death and legacy:

From 1860, he lived at Gadshill Place, near Rochester, Kent.

While working on his last unfinished Novel, “Edwin Drood” he passed away at Gadshill on 9th June 1870 at the age of 58, after suffering a stroke a day earlier.

 Contrary to his wishes to be buried at Rochester Cathedral in an inexpensive, unostentatious manner, he was laid to rest in the “Poet’s Corner” of Westminster Abbey.

 He had wished that no memorials should be built to honour him. Indeed, the only memorial built for him was in 1891 in Clark Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Upon his death, the London Times in an obituary called him “the greatest instructor of the nineteenth century”.

He continues to be one of the best known and most read of English authors and his works have never gone out of print. Nearly 200 movies and TV adaptations based on his works have been made.

His story “A Christmas Carol” is probably the best known of his works and still continues to be adapted for stage and T.V. renditions, turned into an opera, ballet and Broadway musical as well as, translated into several different languages. It is a well-loved tale with money and coins as its central theme and carries the joyous message that Christmas is a time for giving and thinking of others.

When he did his first public reading to an audience of two thousand people in Covent Garden, the text he chose was from “A Christmas Carol”.

His Works:

Coins and money are the recurring themes in many of Charles Dickens’s works, as he knew both wealth and poverty during his colourful life.

In 1833, Charles’ first story “A Dinner at Poplar Walk” was published in the London periodical “Monthly Magazine”.

His first success came at the age of twenty-five with his first novel “Pickwick Papers” which was well received and made him one of the foremost writers of his time. This was followed by two more novels “Oliver Twist” and “The Life and adventures of Nicholas Nickelby” (1839). He grew increasingly sombre in his later works. “A Tale of Two Cities” described through its storyline the horrors of the French Revolution, as well as immense sacrifices, the lucid narration transporting the reader to the times which the story depicts and leaves a sad, brutal image of the ultimate sacrifice at the end.

His popular Novels were: “The Pickwick Papers” (1836 – Stories about a group of somewhat odd individuals and their travels to Ipswich, Rochester and Bath etc.)  “Oliver Twist” (which appeared in monthly instalments from 1837 to 1839 and depicts the London Underworld and hard years of the foundling Oliver Twist), “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” (which too came out in instalments from 1838 to 1839 and is a story about young Nickleby’s struggles to seek his fortune), “The Old Curiosity Shop” (1840-41), Barnaby Rudge: A tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty” (1841), “Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit”(1844), “Dombey and Son” (1848),“David Copperfield”(1849-50 in which Dickens used his own personal experiences of work in a shoe-polish factory), Bleak House(1852-53),  “Hard Times”(1854), “Little Dorrit”,“A Tale of two Cities” (1859 – set in the years of the French Revolution – A tale of unrequited love and the ultimate sacrifice when the Revolution was “eating up” its erstwhile oppressors criticized often for lack of any humour), “Great Expectations” (1860-61 written in a comic manner), “Our Mutual Friend”, the story of Pip (Philip Pirrip) and the unfinished mystery novel “The mystery of Edwin Drood”.(published in 1870, in the year that Charles passed away).

Some of his well known short stories were: “A Message from the Sea”, “Doctor Marigold”, George Silverman’s Explanation”, “Going into Society”, Holiday Romance”, “Hunted Down”, Mrs.Lirriper’s Legacy”, Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings”, Mugby Junction”, “Somebody’s Luggage”, “Some Short Christmas Stories”, Sunday Under Three Heads”, “The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain”, “The Holly Tree Three Branches”, “The Lamplighter”, The Perils of Certain English Prisoners”, The Seven Poor Travellers”, “The Wreck of Golden Mary”, and “Tom Tiddler’s  Ground”.

Some other popular works of Dickens are : “A Child’s History of England”, “A Christmas Carol”, “A House to let”, “ American Notes for General Circulation”, “Master Humphrey’s Clock”, “Miscellaneous Papers”, “Mudfog and Other Sketches”, “No Thoroughfare”, “ Pictures from Italy”, “Reprinted Pieces”, Sketches by Boz”, Sketches of Young Couples”, “Sketches of Young Gentlemen”, “Speeches: Literary and Social by Charles Dickens”, “ The Battle of Life”, “The Chimes”, “ The Cricket on the Hearth”, “ The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices”, “ The Uncommercial Traveller”, “Three Ghost Stories: The Haunted House”, “Three Ghost Stories: The Signal Man”, “ Three Ghost Stories: The Trial For Murder to be read at Dusk”.

Although he is well-known for his novels and short stories, he wrote several essays and edited and re-wrote hundreds of other works submitted to periodicals which he edited.  He distinguished himself as an essayist in 1834 under the pseudonym “BOZ”.

“A Visit to Newgate” (1836 -  reflects his memories of visiting his family in the Marshalea Prison) and his experience during this period, also finds a mention in his novel “Little Doritt” (1855-57). In “A Small Star in the East” (he wrote about the working conditions on mills) and in “Mr. Barlow” (1869) he brought out a profile of an insensitive tutor/teacher).

 During the 1840s, he spent much time travelling and campaigning against the social ills of his time. He also wrote pamphlets, plays and letters.

In 1850s he was the Founding Editor of his own Magazine “Household World” and its successor “All the Year Round” (1859-70).

(The above Banknote is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Jayant has also contributed a 10 Pound Banknote for my collection too. Banknote scanned and post researched & written by Rajeev Prasad)


Bank of England Banknotes:

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

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


  1. Vikram Bhatnagar has commented:
    "Great to see this note; the manner of inserting names of this great man's works is marvelous indeed!"

    1. Yes, indeed, Vikram. The interesting part is that when the Royal Mint, UK commemorated the bicentenary of his birth in 2012, they also brought out a two-pound coin where his profile has been made by the names of his numerous writings. I have this beautiful coin in my collection. (The link to my post in 2012 is given at the top of my above post).

    2. Vikram Bhatnagar has commented:
      "That's really wonderful!"

  2. Satyajit Pratap has commented:
    "Indeed very interesting ....but when issued was it also issued as a collectors item or was it issued only as a circulating note."


    1. Satyajit, it was issued only as a circulating Banknote in 1992, but was withdrawn from circulation in July 2003 and replaced by the Charles Darwin Banknote - as one might say - one famous Charles for another !! Presently it is a Collector's item!