Under section 18(1) of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 it is a criminal offence for any person, without the prior consent in writing of the Bank of England, to reproduce on any substance whatsoever, and whether or not on the correct scale, any Bank of England banknote or any part of a Bank of England banknote. The Bank of England also owns the copyright in its banknotes.
Novelty Banknotes and Inappropriate Reproductions
The Bank of England does not give authority for any reproductions in the form of a novelty banknote (e.g. one where a celebrity or other images are shown on a banknote or other such changes). This is because there have been instances of notes altered in this way, being accepted as genuine banknotes by unsuspecting members of the public.
In addition, the Bank does not give authority for any reproductions that show or use banknotes in an inappropriate context; this includes reproductions showing or based on the destruction of banknotes (e.g. images being cut or burnt, or products that will be destroyed such as tissues), banknote products made for or that associate banknotes with inappropriate content (e.g. sexually explicit imagery), and images that distort any of the individuals featured on banknotes in a disrespectful manner. This is because reproductions of this nature could potentially affect the public image and/or the integrity of the currency, could cause offence, or could infringe copyrights associated with banknote designs.
Under the Currency & Banknotes Act 1928 it is illegal to deface our banknotes (by printing, writing or impressing upon them words, letters or figures, etc.), although the question of whether or not to prosecute in individual cases is up to the police and the courts.
Those wishing to use images of Bank of England banknotes have two options:
- Banknote Image Library:Approved images are located in our banknote image library; users must adhere to our reproduction terms and conditions when handling images, failure to comply with conditions may result in legal action.
Bank of England Banknote Image Library
- Banknote Reproductions Application: If using any other images of Bank of England banknotes, individuals must apply for consent on-line by completing and submitting the Banknote reproductions application form, which explains our reproduction terms and conditions.
Banknote reproductions application form
Postal applications can also be made by printing and completing the application form and mailing it to the correspondence address given below.
The Note Reproductions Officer will endeavour to respond within five working days of receipt of an application.
Correspondence about the reproduction of banknotes should be addressed to:
Bank of England
Banknote Reproductions Officer
The Note Reproductions Officer of the Bank of England can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)20 7601 4028.