The history of the ‘white fiver’
The Bank of England first introduced the 5 pound (£5) denomination in the year 1793, producing the ‘Series A’ fiver by copper plate on paper by Henry Portal of Hampshire. The ‘white fiver’ as this note came to be known remained in circulation until 1961 – surviving through the tenures of 15 chief cashiers of the Bank of England.
In 1860 the Times newspaper described the note by referring to “its superiority as very striking both as regards to the clearness of execution of the design and the watermark of the paper”
This note became the inspiration for our MarGin label.
During the Second World War, Operation Bernhard a Nazi plot to destabilise the pound and undermine the British economy released millions of counterfeit white fivers. To counteract this in 1945 the white fiver made its final transformation to a ‘Series B’ fiver with the addition of metal thread.
Ceasing to be legal tender in 1961, the white fiver remains one of the longest serving printed currency notes and a reminder of the Bank of England’s most prolific and powerful eras.