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 our banknotes, or part of our banknotes, on any substance or to any scale without our consent
  • deface Bank of England banknotes (including printing, writing or impressing words, letters or figures on them)
  • copy a copyright work without consent or a licence from the copyright owner. Bank of England banknotes are copyright of the Bank of England.
These offences are covered respectively under section 18 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, section 12 of the Currency and Banknotes Act 1928, and section 16 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

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  • current or withdrawn Bank of England banknotes.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’.
This page was last updated 19 February 2019
Was this page useful?
Add your details...