The new £10 polymer bank note featuring Jane Austen will enter into circulation today, September 14, 2017.

Austen will be the only woman – apart from the Queen – to be featured on an English bank note, following the withdrawal of the old £5 notes, which featured Elizabeth Fry, in May. 

The old paper bank notes – £5, £10 and £20 – are gradually being replaced by plastic notes, which, according to the Bank of England, are safer and less likely to be forged as well as more resistant to dirt.

"The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work," said Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, at the note's unveiling in July. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published." 

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

What does it look like?

In terms of size, the polymer note is smaller than the current one, but larger than the new polymer fiver. The official dimensions are 132mm x 69mm.

The photo below reveals the design of the new £10 note. 

Jane Austen £10 note Bank of England Flikr

The note features a portrait of Jane Austen based on an engraving by William Home Lizars that was commissioned by her family and based upon an original sketch of Jane Austen drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen.

It also displays an illustration of Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letter which Jane had written for her”, drawn by Isabel Bishop as well as an image of Godmersham Park, home to Jane Austen’s brother and Jane Austen’s writing table.

On top of all that, the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI) appears on the new plastic note.

The choice of quote has attracted some criticism as it was never spoken by Austen herself, but is a line by one her most reviled characters, a woman who doesn't actually like reading books at all.

Special features

The new £10 note is made of polymer to make it cleaner, safer and stronger.

It's the second polymer note to be launched in the UK, after the £5 Winston Churchill note entered circulation last September. A new plastic £20 will be released in 2020, but there are no plans to issue a plastic £50.

The new note comes with special security features making it harder to fake, including a quill which changes colour.

It will also have three raised dots in the top left-hand corner, a tactile feature developed in conjunction with RNIB, as another element to help vision impaired people like the tiered sizing, bold numerals and raised print.

Where can you get one

Just over one billion new £10 notes have been printed ready for issue but it will likely take a little time for their circulation to become widespread in shops and cash points.

However, according to the Bank of England, some cash machines will be dispensing the new note from today. If you are hoping to get your hands on an AA001 note your best bet is to head to the Bank of England's headquarters in Threadneedle Street, London, where it will be open from 9am and likely dispensing notes from their ATM.

How long can I continue to use paper £10 notes?

You can continue to use the paper £10 note until its legal tender status is withdrawn, which will be some time in Spring 2018. The Bank of England will give at least 3 months prior to the withdrawal date.

This article has been updated

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