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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

373) Michael Faraday: A Twenty Pound U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England in 1991 & withdrawn from circulation in 2001:

373) Michael Faraday:  A Twenty Pounds U.K Banknote issued by Bank of England in 1991 & withdrawn from circulation in 2001:

                          The Front of the 20 Pounds Banknote

On the Front of this 20 Pounds Banknote is seen a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at right with her title “EIIR” (meaning “Elizabeth II Regina”). The portrait of the Queen shows her wearing Queen Mary’s “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” Tiara, Queen Alexandra’s cluster earrings and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace.

There is a seated Britannia as the logo of Bank of England at left. The denomination“20” in numerals is in the top left corner. In the centre, the denomination “TWENTY Pounds” is mentioned in words. 

At the bottom is the copyright of “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1991” (1991 being the year of introduction of this design of Banknote).

Also seen towards the centre top are electro-magnetic rings with rings and arrows pointing towards the direction of the magnetic field and magnetic induction. On the bottom of the Banknote can also be seen the magnetic poles “N” and “S” mentioned at intermittent intervals eight times around the magnetic field representation. 

The watermark is that of Queen Elizabeth II, from a few decades ago. On the watermark is easily visible the rings of the “magnetic field”, an area in which Faraday worked in.

To the right of the watermark, the magnetic field/induction representation continues and the denomination of the Banknote “20” is mentioned intermittently, three times.
                  The Back of the 20 Pounds Banknote

On the Back of this 10 Pound Banknote is seen, at right, a portrait of Michael Faraday  (1791-1867) who was  an English scientist, who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His important discoveries included those of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

On the left side in the foreground are seen Faraday presenting his Magneto-Electric Spark apparatus at the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture in 1826.

Stylised representations of some of his discoveries are seen all over this Banknote in the intervening spaces.

At the bottom is the copyright of “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1991” (1991 being the year of introduction of this design of Banknote).

The denomination of the Banknote is in numerals “20” on the top left hand corner & in the centre it is given in words “TWENTY POUNDS”.

 This 20 Pound Banknote on Michael Faraday was issued by the Bank of England on 05.06.1991 under its Series E Banknotes (each Banknote portraying a famous historical character and appropriate scenes on the Back). It was last issued on 1993-94. It was withdrawn from circulation on 28.02.2001.

The size of this Banknote is 149 mm x 80 mm. The colour of this Banknote was predominantly mauve-purple & multicoloured. The designer of this Banknote was Roger Withington.

 This Banknote was also upgraded by the Bank of England under its Series E (Revised Version). The Revised Version of this Banknote was first issued on 27.09.1993 & last issued in 2000. This version also ceased to be legal tender on 28.02.2001.

The size of the Series E (Revised Version) 20 Pound Banknote was also 149 mm x 80 mm.

The colour underwent some changes: the colour of the denomination symbol “20” pounds in the top left hand corner changed to dark purple and additional denomination symbol “20”, black in colour, to replace the crown feature in the top right corner of the Front.

 This denominational symbol “20” pounds was also added to the top right corner near the head of Michael Faraday on the Back, which was purple-grey in colour.

The Series of issue of this Banknote:

This Banknote was first issued by the Bank of England under its “Series E”, which also included  George Stephenson (5 Pound Banknote), Charles Dickens (10 Pound Banknote) and John Houblon (50 Pound Banknote), all of which 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.

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

About Michael Faraday (22.09.1791-25.08.1867):

He was an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

 He had little formal education, nevertheless, his works have established him as one of the most influential scientists in history. His research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in Physics. He also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.

 He similarly discovered the Principle of Electromagnetic Induction, diamagnetism and the laws of Electrolysis.

His inventions of electro-magnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology.

As a Chemist, Faraday discovered Benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of Chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of Oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as anode, cathode, electrode and ion.

He ultimately became the first and foremost Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, which was a lifetime position.

His approach:

Michael Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language. His mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry or any but the simplest Algebra.

James Clerk Maxwell took up the work of Faraday and other scientists and summarised it in a set of equations that is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena.

 On Faraday’s uses of the lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they showed Faraday “to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods”. Faraday twice refused to become the President of the Royal Society.

Positions held & recognition:

In 1838, he was elected a foreign member of the royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was one of eight foreign members elected to the French academy of sciences in 1844.

In 1848, due to the efforts made by the Prince Consort, he was awarded a grace and favour house in Hampton Court in Middlesex, free of all expenses and upkeep. This house was the Master mason’s House, which was later called Faraday House & is now No. 37 Hampton Court road. Faraday retired in 1858 & began to live there.

In 1849, he was elected as Associate member to the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, which two years later became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and he was subsequently made foreign member.

His passing away & memorials:

He passed away on 25.08.1867 at the age of 75 years.

A few years before he passed away, he turned down an offer of burial at Westminster Abbey upon his death, nevertheless, a memorial plaque in his honour is placed there near Isaac Newton’s tomb.

A statue of Faraday stands in Savoy Place, London.

 A memorial dedicated to him was unveiled in 1961 at the Elephant & Castle gyratory system, near faraday’s birthplace at Newington’s Butts in London.

Faraday Gardens (a small park in Walworth, London), a building at London South Bank University which houses the Institute’s electrical engineering department is named “Faraday Wing”, a Hall at Loughborough University is named after him, an 8-storey building at the University of Edinburgh’s Science and Engineering campus is named after him among other memorials.

Several streets in many British cities, France, Germany, Canada and the United states are also named after him.

A Royal Society of Arts blue plaque, unveiled in 1876, honours his memory.

In 2002, Faraday ranked 22 in the BBC’s list of 100 Greatest Britons, following a UK- wide vote.

His contributions to electromagnetic figured in an episode of the American Science Documentary Series – “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”.

The SI unit of capacitance is named in Faraday’s honour – the “Farad”.

Some of his writings and works on him by others:

- “Chemical Manipulation, Being Instructions to Students in Chemistry” (1827)

-  “Experimental researches in Electricity, vols. I and ii” (1839)

-  “Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics” (1859)

-  “A Course of Six Lectures on the Chemical History of a Candle” (1861)

-  “On the Various Forces in Nature” (1873) (Posthumously)

-  A set of 8 volumes titled “Michael Faraday” was published in 1932-1936, as well as in 2009

-  “Curiosity Perfectly Satisfyed: Faraday’s Travels in Europe (1813-1815)” (1991)

-  “The Correspondence of Michael Faraday – Volumes 1 to 4” (1991 - 1999)

-  “Michael Faraday’s Mental Exercises: An artisan Essay Circle in Regency London” (2008)

- “Course of six lectures on the various forces of matter and their relations to each other” (1860)

- “The Liquefaction of Gases” (1896)

- “The letters of Faraday and Schoenbein 1836-1862” (1899)

(The above Banknote is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Banknote scanned & uploaded & Post researched and written by Rajeev Prasad)


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.

3) A Five Pounds Banknote issued on George Stephenson (an Engineer) also depicting "Rocket" his Railway Locomotive and Skeene Bridge on theStockton Darlington Railway (1825) - since withdrawn

4) A 20 Pounds Banknote issued on Michael Faraday (a Scientist) issued in 1991, since withdrawn from circulation in 2001 

Inspirations from Scottish History (Clydesdale Bank Banknotes): 

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

2) The Ryder Cup Commemorative Banknote: A 5 Pounds Banknote issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2014 

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. Satyajit Pratap has commented:
    "Is it that every note carries Queens foto on one side , Rajeev?"

    1. Yes, Satyajit. In UK Banknotes, that is a requirement on all Banknotes, coins, postage stamps etc. The Queen's portrait also undergoes a change over the years. For example on coins the earliest portrait was by Mary Gillick showing the young Queen & the latest one shows her present day self designed by Jody Clark.

    2. Satyajit Pratap has commented:
      "Tx dear."

  2. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Very much educative & interesting post. Thanks."

  3. Ajay Mohan Jain has commented:
    "Very good commentary..."