19th March 1980

Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals

Guernsey rolled out new bank notes in mid-March 1980, and one of them was more significant than most.

Not only did the £5 note carry the image of one of Guernsey’s most famous sons, Thomas de la Rue – it was also printed by the company he set up upon leaving the island for London.

Bust of Thomas de la Rue

De La Rue security printers

De La Rue is one of the best known and widest-used security printing firms in the world. It produces stamps, passports and banknotes for many governments and banks, including the Bank of England. It has printing facilities in Loughton (Essex), Gateshead and Bathford (Somerset). Outside of the UK, it operates in the US, UAE, China, India, Kenya, Malta, Angola and Nigeria.

The Loughton site was previously the Bank of England’s own banknote printing facility.

The brown £5 note issued in 1980 was the first Guernsey currency to carry De La Rue’s likeness, but not the last. He featured on a £1 note issued in 2013 to mark the bicentenary of the De La Rue printing works.

Guernsey has used the pound Sterling since 1921.

Where are the women?

All countries update their currency from time to time, often to combat fraud, so Guernsey actually issued a whole new set of banknotes in 1980. Each of them featured a famous man from Guernsey’s past. Sadly, there were no women on any of them, aside from the queen on the front.

Guernsey banknoteThe new green £1 note bore Daniel de Lisle Brock, Bailiff of Guernsey between 1762 and 1842. The blue £10 note carried a picture of Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who was born in Guernsey in 1769, went to Canada. He is credited with saving the country for the empire and shown in front of a sketch of the Battle of Queenston Heights. The red £20 note showed Admiral Lord de Saumarez at the Battle of Gibraltar Bay.

Guernsey banknote image released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license by Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi


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