What Happens To Old Bank Notes After They’re No Longer Legal Tender? 

It seems that we’re in a period where a lot of changes are being made to our money.

First, fivers were replaced with new polymer ones, which at the time seemed like a bit of ball ache, but now it’s just normal. Soon tenners and 20s will follow, as one pound coins have also changed.

It’s not as big of a deal as it was all made out to be, but it’ll still prompt your granddad to say: “Plastic notes? Eh, not in my day.”

But what happens with the old notes? Does someone get them all? Are they used as props? Are they kept by businesses?

They get destroyed. The methods in doing so have changed over the years, with the Bank of England’s website stating that at first they were incinerated with the energy generated used to help heat the building. However, in the 90s, when equipment changed, they were incinerated for energy recovery.

Nowadays it’s a lot different; they’re recycled using a composting treatment, then and used as a soil improver for agriculture, meaning that you may have eaten a carrot or potato worth five or ten pounds.

Earlier in the month, the old five pound note was completely replaced by the introduction of the brand-new plastic ones four months ago.It’s a scary thought there are around 165 million old £5 notes currently in circulation, all of which are now useless.

The new plastic ten pound notes will be released into circulation later this year in September, with the ones in your wallet now eventually being withdrawn.

Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor confirmed in 2013 that the note will feature Jane Austen, as well as a quote from Pride and Prejudice.

Samples of the new polymer £10 note. Credit: PA

While, as we know, this largely means nothing, it does mean people will try flogging their old tenners.

Last time, with the fivers, it got out of hand. Even a hand-drawn £5 note managed to accrue bids of over £10,000 before being taken down from eBay.

Adam Purcell, 24, from Bournemouth, Dorset, decided to take the piss by putting the note up for sale after seeing the ridiculous prices some notes had been selling for online.

He described it as a ‘rare misprint on white paper and graphite ink’, adding that it would ‘surpass all monetary value’ and that it could even be eligible for ‘display in the National Gallery’.

Adam said: “I was surprised it got as high as it did before it was taken down. I’ve seen a lot of articles about people flogging five pound notes for a ridiculous amount of money, so I thought I’d have a laugh with it using my incredible, artistic talents.

“I wasn’t sure it would get any bids at all.”

He also said the listing received a number of messages, many from people telling him they found it amusing.

Cue this happening again.