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You only have till Friday to spend your old £5 notes - or even banks might not take them!

THE ‘new and improved’ five pound notes were released into circulation in September 2016 and you now have until this Friday 5th May, to spend the old ones before they become worthless. There are millions of paper £5 notes still in circulation right now, but in just one weeks' time they all cease being legal tender which means you won’t be able to buy anything with them.

It does not seem long ago since the new polymer £5 notes were introduced but people have just one week left to spend - or bank - the 160 million paper fivers still in circulation before they lose their legal tender status.

From Friday, May 5th, shops no longer have to accept the paper fiver featuring prison reformer Elizabeth Fry as payment and not all banks and building societies will accept the old notes being returned.

After May 5th, the new polymer banknote - billed as untearable and with enhanced security when introduced last September - featuring Sir Winston Churchill, will be the only Bank of England £5 note with legal tender status.

The Bank of England said more than 50 per cent of "Fry fivers" have already been returned to be destroyed, leaving around 160 million in circulation. Some banks and building societies might still accept paper £5 notes after May 5th, but this is at their own discretion.

The Bank of England will continue to exchange the old £5 notes for all time, as it would for any other Bank note which no longer has legal tender status. The new Bank of England fiver is stronger than its predecessor and boasts new security features making it harder to counterfeit. But it has been controversial as it emerged that traces of animal-derived additives were used in its production.

There are also plans to release a new £10 note which will feature classic British author Jane Austen. Production of the new £10 note began last August, with hundreds of millions of the notes already printed. According to the Bank of England, the polymer currency will be released into circulation in September 2017. This will be followed in three years time by a new £20 note which will feature the British painter JMW Turner.

New five pound notes that are worth a fortune The “Jane Austen” notes Specialist micro-engraver Graham Short put into circulation four five pound notes with tiny portraits of Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen. The gold engraving can be seen with the naked eye, but a microscope is needed to catch the detail. Experts value the artworks at around £50,000 each.

The “James Bond” notes Late last year, lucky eBayers sold notes with the serial numbers AK37 007533 and AK37 007012 for £5,000 each.

Low serial numbers Telford man Piotr Sobczuk sold a note with the serial number AA01 444444 for £60,100 in March 2017. Other notes with early serial numbers, such as AA, AB, AC and AK, have been sold to collectors for thousands of pounds. Most, however, go for something in the area of £200. AA01 000001

The very first polymer five pound note was given to the Queen and lies in her private collection. It is unknown what its value would be if ever brought to auction..

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