Earliest surviving Scottish banknote

Contributed by Museum on the Mound

Bank of Scotland banknote for 12 pounds Scots (£1), 1716. Photograph by Antonia Reeve. © Museum on the Mound, Edinburgh.

12 pounds Scots (£1 sterling) was a fairly substantial sum of money in 1716 - equivalent to about £85 today.This banknote was issued by the Bank of Scotland in 1716.
Founded in 1695, Bank of Scotland produced its first banknotes the following year. It was the first successful paper currency to be launched by a commercial bank in Europe.

The new notes were popular with the Bank's customers (mainly merchants and landowners), largely because people trusted them more than the coinage of the period, which was scarce and of poor quality.

Though none of the Bank's notes from 1696 survive, this one from 1716 gives a good idea of what early banknotes were like. Their simple design meant they were relatively easy to copy, and forgery was a persistent problem.

The banknote is expressed in 'pounds Scots' rather than sterling. Although Scotland's separate currency was abolished by the Act of Union in 1707, it was still used as an expression of money for many years afterwards (£12 Scots = £1 sterling). Bank of Scotland still issues banknotes today, making it the longest continuous banknote issue in the world.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 18:05 on 24 March 2010, batty wrote:

    Bet it's worth more than £85 today and certainly more than the pound which used to be in your pocket before the budget

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Location
Culture
Period

1716

Theme
Size
H:
11.5cm
W:
11.8cm
Colour
Material

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