The pound sterling, denoted by GBP, is the official unit of currency used in the United Kingdom. The sign for the pound is £ (or rarely, just "L"). The pound sterling is one of the world's most widely traded currencies, along with the United States dollar, the Japanese yen, and the euro. It is the highest valued of the major currency units. The pound is subdivided into 100 pence, the singular of which is "penny." The symbol for the penny is "p." The denomination of the pound is £5, £10, £20, £50. Each denomination has its own size and colour.
All the banknotes bear HM The Queen's head on one side and a famous historical person on the other side. Queen Elizabeth II is the first monarch to have her portrait printed on a banknote. It was first done in 1960 as a way of helping to prevent forgeries.
The current £5 note features Elizabeth Fry, who made her name fighting for improved living conditions for women in European jails.
The current £10 note features Charles Darwin, the Victorian naturalist who developed the theory of evolution.
The current £20 note features Sir Edward Elgar, a British composer.
The Bank of England issued a new-style £20 note on 13 March 2007. The note features Adam Smith, one of the fathers of modern economics.
The current £50 note features Sir John Houblon, the first Governor of the Bank of England.
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