The Bank of England unveiled its first plastic 10 pound note on Tuesday, which features 19th century novelist Jane Austen and will be available to the public from Sept. 14.
The new note follows the introduction last year of a five pound note made from a polymer film, which the central bank says is more durable and harder to forge.
The 5 pound note drew criticism from vegetarians and some religious groups for containing trace amounts of animal fats – something which will also be the case for the new 10 pound note.
The British central bank is working to find an alternative production method in time for when it launches a new 20 pound note in 2020.
Tuesday marks the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral in 1817, and completed many of her best-known works such as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” in the village of Chawton, 15 miles away.
“Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said ahead of the launch event in the cathedral, which dates back to the 7th century.
He was likely to face questions from reporters at the launch about the choice of a quotation – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – used on the banknote.
The Guardian newspaper said in 2013, when a first version of the design was made public, that the quotation came from a character in “Pride and Prejudice” who in fact had no interest in books and was merely trying to impress a potential suitor.
The new 10 pound note includes tactile features to make it easier for blind people to identify, and the BoE says each note should last for around five years, compared to around two years for the current paper note featuring scientist Charles Darwin.
The 10 pound notes which feature Darwin will cease to be legal tender during the first half of next year.