Using images of banknotes

We allow you to use images of our banknotes if you comply with our reproduction conditions.

What you need to know

We give you consent to reproduce our banknotes, or a part of one, if you comply with our reproduction conditions (you do not need to contact us for permission). These conditions apply whether you are using our approved images or creating your own.

If you do not comply with our conditions, this may result in legal action.

Banknotes and the law

It is an offence to: 

  • reproduce banknotes issued by us, or part of banknotes issued by us, on any substance or to any scale without our consent. For the avoidance of doubt, consent for items marketed as ‘Movie’, ‘Prop’ or ‘Training’ items can only be obtained if such items meet our reproduction conditions. We have described these in more detail in the FAQ below.
  • deface Bank of England banknotes (including printing, writing or impressing words, letters or figures on them).
  • without the Bank’s consent knowingly and in the course of a business make for sale or hire, import, offer, exhibit in public, or distribute a copyright work. Copyright in Bank of England banknotes is owned by the Bank of England and also contains works which the Bank uses under licence from public and private sector bodies.
  • without the Bank’s consent apply to goods or packaging, to sell, expose or distribute goods with the Bank’s registered trade mark (or a sign likely to be mistaken for it) with a view to gain for himself or another, or with intent to cause loss to another.
  • commit fraud by false representation and misuse the Bank’s name as an instrument of fraud.

Counterfeit banknotes

It is also an offence to: 

  • make a counterfeit banknote without lawful excuse or with the intention of passing or tendering it as genuine.
  • pass or tender or deliver to another a counterfeit banknote knowingly or believing it to be counterfeit.
  • have custody or control of a counterfeit banknote intending to pass or tender or deliver it as genuine or have in custody or control without lawful excuse.
  • have custody or control of anything intending to or allowing any person to use it to make a counterfeit banknote intending to pass it as genuine or make or have anything designed or adapted to make a counterfeit banknote without lawful excuse.

These offences are covered under sections 14-17 and 18 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, section 12 of the Currency and Banknotes Act 1928, section 107 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994, and section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

In addition, civil liability attaches to infringement of the Bank’s copyright, moral rights, and trade mark rights. 

The list is non-exhaustive. The content of this website is provided for general information purposes only and it does not constitute in any way legal advice. If you are seeking specific legal advice, you may wish to contact a qualified legal professional at your own expense.

Our banknote reproduction conditions

If you plan to use an image of one of our banknotes, you must meet our conditions. These are different depending on whether you plan to produce a physical or digital reproduction.

These conditions apply whether you are reproducing:

  • all or part of a banknote
  • the front or the back of a banknote
  • current or withdrawn Bank of England banknotes.

Conditions for physical and digital reproductions

For physical reproductions, conditions 1, 2, 3 and 4 must be met and at least one of 5a) to 5c).

For digital reproductions, conditions 3 and 4 must be met and at least one of 5b) to 5c).

Reproduction condition Physical reproductions eg books, newspapers, banners.              Digital reproductions eg on screen only.
1 Reproductions must be one sided only. Required Not required
2 Reproductions must not be the same size as actual banknotes. They must be at least 25% smaller or at least 25% larger. Required Not required
3 Reproductions may not appear in an offensive or inappropriate context or in such a manner that we, in our sole opinion, believe would undermine the integrity of the currency. Required Required
4 There should be no distortion to the Queen’s image (apart from an enlargement, reduction or slant). Required Required
5a) Reproductions must be printed on a material clearly different and distinguishable from materials we use to print current series Bank of England banknotes. At least one of conditions 5 (a) to (c) must also be met Not required
5b) Reproductions showing more than 50% of the total surface area of one side must be overprinted with the word ‘SPECIMEN’ unless the note is on a slant of more than 20 degrees.

SPECIMEN markings must be in bold grey font, at a 45-degree slant through the centre of the banknote, not less than one-third the length and one-tenth the height of the note.
At least one of conditions 5 (a) to (c) must also be met At least one of conditions 5 (b) to (c) must also be met
5c) Reproductions showing less than 50% of the total surface area of one side do not need to be slanted or overprinted with the word ‘SPECIMEN’. At least one of conditions 5 (a) to (c) must also be met At least one of conditions 5 (b) to (c) must also be met

Free banknote images you can use

You can download images of banknotes that meet our conditions from our current banknotes image library and our withdrawn notes gallery.

Inappropriate or novelty reproductions

We do not allow inappropriate or novelty reproductions because they could affect the integrity or public image of our banknotes, cause offence, or infringe copyright.

You must not produce or use images of our notes in a way that we consider offensive, inappropriate or that undermines the integrity of the currency. This includes reproductions that:

  • show the destruction of banknotes (eg banknote images being cut or burned) or producing products that will be destroyed (eg tissues)
  • associate banknotes with inappropriate content (eg sexually explicit images)
  • distort the Queen or any of the people featured on banknotes in a way that we think is disrespectful.

You must not produce or use images of our notes in a way that they could be mistaken as genuine. This includes reproductions that are:

  • double-sided
  • the same size as the actual banknote
  • printed on a similar material to that used for current Bank of England notes, unless it includes the word ‘SPECIMEN’ or is only showing half of the banknote.

You must not produce novelty versions of our notes, for example ones that feature a celebrity. This is because some notes that have been altered in this way have been mistakenly accepted as genuine.

Banknote reproductions frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • No – as long as you have met our conditions you do not need our approval.
  • You don’t need to. Our banknote reproductions policy was updated in February 2019 so formal application and approval is no longer required. We also no longer impose a time limit on our reproduction permissions.
  • No. This is considered a novelty banknote and does not meet our conditions. There have been cases of banknotes that have been altered in this way being mistakenly accepted as genuine.
  • No. This is considered a novelty banknote and does not meet our conditions. A solid text box can be added to the note or text can be printed on the back.
  • Yes if:

    • more than 50% of the total surface area is on show
    • the note is slanted less than 20 degrees.

    No if:

    • less than 50% of the total surface area is on show
    • it is printed on a material clearly different and distinguishable from those used to print current banknotes
    • the note is slanted more than 20 degrees.
  • Incorrect

    The incorrect use of a banknote image:

    Incorrect use of a banknote image at 20 degrees

    Correct

    The correct use of a banknote image with a slant greater than 20 degrees:

    Correct use of a banknote image at 20 degrees

  • In bold grey font, at a 45-degree slant through the centre of the banknote, for example:

    Front of five pound note

  •   Actual Size 25% Smaller 25% Larger
    £5 125mm x 65mm 93.75mm x 48.75mm 156.25mm x 81.25mm
    £10 132mm x 69mm 99mm x 51.75mm 165mm x 86.25mm
    £20 149mm x 80mm 111.75mm x 60mm 186.25mm x 100mm
    £50 156mm x 85mm 117mm x 63.75mm 195mm x 106.25mm
  • All the information you need should be on our website. If you have any questions, please contact our enquiry team:

  • Anything that isn’t paper-based or thin, flexible plastic (eg ceramic, towels and cardboard).
  • No. Banknote reproductions must either be an exact copy or bear no resemblance to our banknotes or contain any of the design elements. If your reproduction does not have any of our banknote features on it, this would be considered more of a ‘voucher’ rather than a banknote and would not need to meet our reproduction requirements.
  • No – we are only responsible for Bank of England banknotes. You will need to check with The Royal Mint to find out what you need to do if you want to use images of coins.
  • No. We are responsible for Bank of England banknotes only so our conditions only apply to our banknote images. You need to check with the relevant Scottish or Northern Ireland issuing banks. Please see the Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers website for contact details.
  • No. We are responsible for Bank of England banknotes only and our conditions only apply to our banknote images. You need to check with the Debt Management Office to find out what you need to do if you want to use images of banknotes issued by the Treasury between 1914 and 1928.
  • You can find out when our current banknotes were issued from ‘How to check your banknotes’. Find out when our withdrawn banknotes were issued from ‘Withdrawn banknotes’.
  • Some likenesses of our banknotes are marketed as Movie, Prop or Training notes. These look like Bank of England banknotes, but are often printed onto paper without any security features such as windows or holograms and may have misspelt wording. Examples include POONDS instead of POUNDS, Bank of Lagland instead of Bank of England. They may also contain phrases such as ‘Money for Prank’, ‘This is not legal to be used for Motion props’, or ‘This is play money for video movie, it is a toy’. Training notes are similar and will often have Chinese characters printed on the front and back. 

    To be legal reproductions, they must meet our reproduction conditions. Please see above for the full conditions. 

    All other likenesses which do not meet our reproduction conditions are illegal.

  • You should contact your nearest police station or call their 101 non-emergency telephone number if you discovered you are in possession of such a note. If you have information about someone reproducing banknotes illegally, please contact the police or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. As well as there being a risk of a reproduction offence, there is also a risk that a such notes may be counterfeit banknotes if they are reasonably capable of passing for a currency note. 

  • No, these are not Bank of England banknotes and no exchange for a Bank of England banknote can be made. Fortunately, such occurrences are extremely rare but please report any such cases to your local police.
This page was last updated 26 November 2021

Give your feedback

Was this page useful?
Yes
No
Add your details...