Starting today, people in the U.K. will come face to face with one of the country’s most famous female authors when they pay for a pint.
A new plastic £10 note, featuring a portrait of Jane Austen, went into circulation Thursday. The Austen note, which replaces a version featuring Charles Darwin, has added security against counterfeits. Austen is only the third woman, apart from the Queen, to appear on British banknotes. Nurse Florence Nightingale and prison reformer Elizabeth Fry came before her.
The ‘tenner’, as it is known in Britain, has two clusters of dots in the top corner to help blind and partially sighted people identify the note, and is decorated with a gold foil image of Austen’s burial place.
They cost around $13 to produce and are made from polymer, which the Bank of England says is cleaner, safer, and stronger than existing cotton-paper notes. However, some protesters boycotted the newest £5 note in December when they discovered the polymer contained animal fat.
The bills in circulation will gradually evolve toward Austen as the current Darwin ‘tenners’ are withdrawn from circulation through next Spring.