Normally when banks or the Royal Mint release a new item of currency, this happens in London or Edinburgh and only people who live in these areas are lucky enough to see the new notes or coins in the first few days of circulation.
This week, however, I spotted press coverage that the Royal Bank of Scotland’s new polymer five pound notes were to be issued from nine branches of the bank on Thursday October 27th, including one near where I was working that day.
Knowing that the highest prices for new notes are usually achieved in the first few days after their release, I called at the branch identified by media coverage in Inverness but staff there were surprised, pointing out that they planned to launch the notes the following day.
No amount of “But I’m only here for the day” or “Pretty Please” worked so I had to return the next day, when I was greeted by what appeared to be a jobbing out-of-work actor in front of a table covered in cards promoting the new notes and a tray of cupcakes featuring the main character on the front of the new notes.
Result – the notes were finally available and I was among the first in the country to get my hands on them.
My visit the previous day paid off however and staff who recognised me agreed that I would be allowed to withdraw £1,000 in the new “plastic fivers” – far more than the usual limit.
I was also able to get a few of the promotional postcards the bank issued to explain some aspects of the design.
This means I now have all three Scottish polymer notes issued so far:
Gotta dash for now but … will update later.