£50 note

The current £50 note, featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt, was issued on 2 November 2011. We will make a decision on when to issue a new £50 note, and whether to print it on polymer, in due course.
50-specimen-front
50-specimen-back

Design features

Size

This is our largest note, measuring approximately 156mm x 85mm.

Denomination numeral

The large number 50 and £ symbol in the top-left hand corner of the front of the note help you easily see its value. There is also a slightly smaller number 50 in the top and bottom right corners.

Unique numbering

A unique serial number is printed horizontally and vertically on the back of the note. The horizontal numbers is in the bottom right corner. It is made up of multi-coloured letters and numbers, which increase in height from left to right. The vertical number runs down the left-hand side and the numbers and letters are the same height and colour.

Copyright symbol

The international copyright symbol is included on the front and the back of the £50 note. You can find it to the left of the motion thread on the front of the note and under the words ‘James Watt 1736 – 1819’.

Historical characters: Matthew Boulton and James Watt 

Boulton and Watt were leading lights of the industrial revolution. Boulton was an entrepreneur, while Watt was an engineer and scientist who made revolutionary changes to the efficiency of the steam engine. In 1775, the two formed a partnership to develop and market steam engines, and the designs were taken up worldwide. The metric unit of power is named after James Watt.

Security features

Watermark

 

Hold the £50 note up to the light to see an image of the Queen and a bright £50.

Watermark on the note

Watermark on the note

Motion thread

 

The motion thread on the £50 note is woven into the paper. It has five windows along its length, which contain images of the £ symbol and the number 50. When you tilt the note from side to side, the images move up and down. When you tilt the note up and down, the images move from side to side and the number 50 and the £ symbol switch.

How to check the motion thread on the £50 note

Feel of the paper and raised print

 

The special paper gives our banknotes their unique feel.

You will feel raised print in areas such as the words 'Bank of England' and in the bottom right corner, around the number 50.

Raised print on the note

Raised print on the note

Ultraviolet feature

 

Look at the front of the note under a good-quality ultraviolet light to see the number 50 appear in bright red and green. The five windows of the motion thread also appear in bright green. You will also see randomly spread bright red and green flecks on both the front and back of the note. The rest of the note appears dull in contrast.
Ultraviolet feature on the front of the note

Ultraviolet feature on the front of the note

Metallic thread

 

There is a metallic thread embedded in every banknote. If you hold the note up to the light, the metallic thread appears as a continuous dark line.
Metallic thread on the note

Metallic thread on the note

Print quality

 

The printed lines and colours on the £50 note are sharp, clear and free from smudges or blurred edges.

Clear vs blurred

Clear vs blurred

Microlettering

 

Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the lettering beneath the Queen's portrait. You will see the value of the note in small letters and numbers.
Close up vs magnified

Close up vs magnified

See-through register

 

Hold the £50 note up to the light and you will see coloured irregular shapes printed on the front and back. They combine to form the £ symbol.
Seen from front and back shapes added

Seen from front and back shapes added

This page was last updated 15 November 2017
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