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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 04:07 GMT 05:07 UK
New 5 notes reissued
New 5 note
The serial numbers should no longer rub off
The Bank of England is to restart distribution of the new 5 notes.

The notes have already been delivered to banks and post offices, and from Wednesday morning are being made available to the public.

Distribution of the notes was suspended just a week after their introduction in May, following complaints that their serial numbers could be rubbed off.

It was highly embarrassing for the Bank, which had previously stated the note was the most secure ever produced.

It later ran tests which traced the problem to the fact that the ink had not dried properly, because of a new protective varnish that had been put on the notes just before the serial numbers were printed.

With the new version, the protective varnish will be applied only after the serial number has been printed on to the bank note.

The Bank of England, London
The Bank has altered the way the notes are printed
A Bank of England spokesperson said: "We're confident we've fixed the problem."

The new notes are the same size and colour as the existing note but have extra security features, including a hologram.

Victorian prison reformer Elizabeth Fry replaces George Stephenson on the note, becoming only the second woman to appear on the back of an English banknote.

They are supposed to have a longer life span than the current "fivers", which last on average less than one year.

Three million of the first batch of notes are still in circulation - they remain legal tender even if the serial numbers have been removed.

According to the Bank the serial numbers are not a key security feature, but merely give information about the note's origin.

The notes could in due course become collectors' items.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jenny Scott
"The production process has changed"
Bank of England chief cashier Merlyn Lowther
"It was very embarrassing and we're very sorry"
See also:

28 May 02 | UK
21 May 02 | UK
11 Apr 02 | UK
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