As the new polymer Jane Auster £10 notes hit ATMs, the race is on to find the tenners worth a fortune. 

As with when the Winston Churchill five was released last year, there are reports that some polymer £10 banknotes could be worth thousands of pounds.

In this article, we’ll explain what makes a note valuable, and how to tell if your new £10 banknote is worth holding on to.

Proceed with caution

The obvious place to start is to point out that the vast majority of notes will only be worth face value.

[Read more: Why old and new £5 notes could be worth a lot]

Only rare and south after notes will be valued higher, and even then, it’s usually not by much.

But you wouldn’t think that if you looked at various auction sites. There are no shortage of people selling supposedly “rare” and valuable” notes.

The sad truth is there's a lot of misinformation – and opportunistic sellers – out there, so you need to proceed with caution.

Pam West, founder of dealer British Notes, explained about one instance where bids on an eBay listing went to £80,000.

At the same time she had a very similar note on sale for £45.

In the end, the eBay auction winner never paid.

Andrew Pattison, a banknote specialist with auctioneers Spink & Son, warns that, if people read that a note has sold for thousands, they'll think they're getting a bargain when they see the same note for sale for hundreds of pounds.

In fact, that note could be worth little more than face value.

How to spot a valuable new £10 note

Rare £10 note: how to spot one (Image: Bank of England - Flickr)

That’s not to say you won’t be able to find a valuable new £10 Austen note. Looking at confirmed sales of the new fiver, it’s clear that notes with specific serial numbers are worth more than face value.

You can see the serial number circled in the bottom-right corner of the image below.

This number is broken into two parts, the first (which indicated the batch) is a combination of letters and numbers, and the second is a six-digit number (indicating what number it was in said batch).

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New Jane Austen £10 note (Image: Bank of England - Flickr)

In particular, you’re after ones with the lowest possible sequence.

For the first part, notes beginning with AA01 will be the most sought after. Match that with a low number in the second part of the sequence and you’re likely onto a winner.

Note that it’s impossible to get the very first note (AA01 000001), as this has already been handed to the Queen.

As we explained in our “all you need to know” article, it’s possible that certain other Jane Austen notes could be worth more than face value.

For example, coin site changechecker.com speculates that the sequences ending …16 121775, and …18 071817 could prove valuable as they mark her birth and date of death respectively.