Business fun stuff

Banknote – I promise to pay the bearer

Banknote promise by Andrew Bailey, Chief Cashier, Bank of England.

This afternoon I used a twenty pound note to pay for two teas and a fruit scone at the @Harbour_lights cafe in Peel. For the first time, ever, I noticed the wording on the banknote “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds”. The note was signed by an Andrew Bailey, Chief cashier.

A certain number of questions arise from this. In the first instance I’m pretty sure that Andrew Bailey will not have signed every banknote himself. That would be ridiculous. He’d spend all his time just sat there signing banknotes. Millions of ’em. That would be most unproductive and not a particularly good use of his time. I imagine he is quite well paid. No the signature will be a facsimile.

That, however, is not the issue that prompted me to write this post. The question is were I to approach Andrew Bailey with the twenty pound note (I’d have to use a different one because I’ve already spent the one in the photo) what would he give me in exchange? Were he to give me, the bearer, another twenty pound note it would render the whole exercise completely pointless. Just swapping twenty pound notes would be plain daft.

So what would Andy (I already feel as if I know him well enough to call him Andy) give me for my banknote? Not beaver pelts. That would not be scalable. Not gold. We in the UK abandoned the gold standard many years ago afaik. I don’t know the answer which is why I’m asking you. My dad doesn’t know either – I just asked him and he would be interested in finding out.

I’ll finish with a public apology. I realise that we aren’t supposed to reproduce banknotes. No idea what the penalty is but I feel sure there is one and it could involve doing time. I have taken a risk in posting a photo of the twenty pound note in question. I’m sorry about this but I felt it was necessary accompanying illustration. Evidence if you like.  You can check by getting one of your own twenty pound notes out and taking a look yourself but I have made it easy for you.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,