Banknote, fifty pounds, Matthew Boulton and James Watt, serial number AA10 001888, paper / ink / metallic thread / micro-lenses, designed and made by Bank of England / De La Rue, Debden, United Kingdom, 2011
The predominant colour of the note is red, with some yellow and orange. The front of the note features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, her symbol E II R, the facade and seal of the Bank of England, the words 'LONDON / FOR THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF / THE BANK OF ENGLAND' above the signature of Chris Salmon and the words 'CHIEF CASHIER', the title 'Bank of England' above the words 'I PROMISE TO PAY THE BEARER ON DEMAND THE SUM OF FIFTY POUNDS', the words and symbols for 'fifty' and 'pounds' repeated in a variety of fonts, colours and point sizes, and detailed additional linework.
The back features portraits of Matthew Boulton and James Watt, a drawing of the Powerhouse Museum's Boulton and Watt engine, a drawing of Boulton's Soho Manufactory with a rider on horseback and horse-drawn carriage in front of it, the names and dates of both men, a quote from each (Boulton: 'I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have - POWER' and Watt: 'I can think of nothing else but this machine'), the words 'Bank Of England' and 'Fifty Pounds', the note's serial number written vertically at top left and horizontally at bottom right, symbols for fifty and fifty pounds, several gear wheels including one that resembles the engine's planet wheel, and a copyright symbol followed by the words 'GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 2010'. A copy of the same drawing as on the note was given to the Museum at the time the engine was donated (object P1306); in it the engine is partially sectioned to reveal the separate condenser, Watt's most important innovation.
Security features visible in normal light include: raised print in certain places; a metallic thread running from top to bottom; watermark consisting of the Queen's portrait and the symbol for fifty pounds; very clear, sharp printing; micro-lettering in certain places; a see-through register, where shapes on the front and back of the note combine to form the pound symbol; and a green motion thread visible from the front. The motion thread is woven into the paper. It has five windows along its length which contain images of the pound symbol and the number 50. When the note is tilted from side to side, the images move up and down. When the note is tilted up and down, the images move from side to side and the number 50 and pound symbol switch.
Additional security features, applied using fluorescent inks, appear under ultraviolet light. The major one, on the front, is the appearance of the number 50, brightly chequered in red and green, at the same location as the E of the word 'England'. In addition, the windows in the motion thread appear bright green, and red and green flecks appear on both sides of the note.