TODAY marks the launch of the brand new, polymer £50 notes featuring WWII code breaker Alan Turning.

If you do receive one it's worth checking the serial number, as rare notes can be worth substantially more than their face value.

This is because banknotes with unusual or significant serial numbers are often sought after by collectors – with polymer £5, £10 and £20 notes regularly selling for up to 30 times their worth.

It's hard to predict which £50 notes will be most hunted by collectors but keep an eye out for low serial numbers.

Notes which typically start with the code AA01 were some of the first to be making them valuable.

If one of these ends up in your wallet then its worth hanging onto it for a while as you might be able to cash in by selling it on.

It's not just the new £50 notes that can be worth a lot – here's our round up of the best prices people are getting for £5, £10 and £20 banknotes on eBay and which serial numbers and quirks to look out for.

What do the serial numbers mean on banknotes?

THE first four letters and numbers on a serial number is known as the “cypher”, according to the Bank of England.

The cypher, which is the AA01 part of the code, represents the note's position on the sheet when it was printed.

The serial number is the six numbers that follow the cypher refers to the sheet that the note is printed on.

For example, there are 60 polymer £5 banknotes on each sheet  and the first run had the cypher AA01 to AA60.

There are just under a million serial numbers printed for each cypher – from 000001 to 999000.

That means, there will be just under 60 million notes beginning with "AA", before the cypher changes to "AB".

No banknote has the same serial code which is why they can be worth a lot to a collector if you've got an interesting one.

Jane Austin £5 note – up to £5,000

The most valuable note you could be sitting on is an extremely rare £5 note – there are only five in the world and four in circulation.

Back in 2016, the first ever polymer notes were released. The new £5 notes featured the face of former-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Micro-artist Graham Short engraved a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen into the hologram on five of the notes.

One of them is in the Jane Austen museum, but the other four were released into general circulation by the artist.

They were initially expected to be worth £50,000 each, but the most any of them have ever sold for is £5,000 at a charity auction.

So far, three of the four have been found, which means one is still missing and could be in your piggy bank, wallet, or down the back of the sofa.

AK47 £5 note – up to £650

Typically, £5 notes with an AK47 serial number sell for around the £100 mark, but one lucky eBay seller managed to get £650 in May this year.

AK47 notes of any denomination tend to be more valuable because of the links to the famous machine guns.

Beware selling notes online, back in 2016, we reported how Gareth Wright had sold his AK47 fiver for £80,000 online, only for the buyer to not cough up the cash.

£5 note with serial number 888888 – up to £150

Another thing to keep an eye out for is notes with recurring numbers in the serial.

For instance, earlier this year a rare £5 note with a serial number made up of six eights sold on eBay for £149.02.

That works out at almost 30 times the face value of the note. It was put on eBay with a starting price of £5 and received 19 bids in total.

Recurring serial numbers £20 note – up to £255.02

While 888888 is the most popular recurring serial number, it's always worth looking out for notes with other recurring numbers.

For instance, this £20 was sold for £255.02 in April this year because it had the serial number 666666.

This holds true for any notes, whether they are £5, £10, £20 or £50.

The dangers of selling your notes on eBay

THE most valuable coins are usually those that have low or unusual serial numbers or those with an error.

Once you’ve found out whether the note is real or not, you have a number of options – including selling it on eBay.

If you want to sell your rare notes on eBay then you need to know the risks.

Remember to set a minimum price that is higher or at the very least equal to the face value of the note.

Even if your note “sells” on eBay for a high price there’s no guarantee that the buyer will cough up.

In its terms and conditions, the auction website states that bidders enter a “legally binding contract to purchase an item”, but there’s no way to enforce this rule in reality.

The most eBay can do is add a note to the buyer's account about the unpaid item or remove their ability to bid and buy.

This is because in order to sign up to the website, users do not need to put in valid bank or PayPal details before making a bid.

If a bidder refuses to pay, then the only option for sellers is to give “second chance offers” to other bidders or relist the item.

For items of a high value, eBay recommends that sellers put a limit on their listing to approve bidders.

It means bidders must email you before placing a bid but NOT that they must pay out the cash if they win.

Low serial numbers £10 – up to £89

Low serial number notes are usually well sought after, usually selling for around twice their value.

Generally, with a £5 note you tend to make the best back, with an AA01 serial number usually selling for £12.50.

Most £10 notes tend to sell for just under £20 each, but in June this year one sellers mint condition version sold for a whopping £89 – almost nine times its face value.

In June, someone sold an AA01 £20 for £48.25, more than twice what is it worth if you spend it in the shops.

A listing for an AA01 version of the new £50 note currently has a top bid of £57 with three days left on the auction, so keep an eye out if you get a new note this week.

James Bond £5 note – up to £50

Just like the popular AK47 numbers, James Bond's 007 can increase the value of any bank note.

Because 007 occurs fairly often, collectors usually will only pay substantially more than face value if the note also has a low serial number and is in mint condition.

For instance, in April this year, one seller managed to get £50 for a £5 note that contained 007 and was produced in the first year the notes were available.

Printing error £5 – up to £24

Look out for printing errors, particularly on older notes as these can make them more valuable.

For instance, in March this year someone sold a £5 note for £24 because the picture of the queen in the watermark was in the wrong place.

The note wasn't even in pristine condition, suggesting it could have gone for more.

Fishtail errors old notes – up to £116

Older notes sometimes came with manufacturing errors where an extra piece of paper is still attached in one corner.

Collectors often refer to this as a 'fishtail error' and it can add value to your notes.

For instance, an old £1 banknote from 1967 sold for £116, thanks to its fishtail.

New plastic £50 note featuring Alan Turing launched into circulation today.

When a release date was announced, spooks at GCHQ published their toughest ever puzzle to honour the former code-breaker.

The number of people paying by cash has fallen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic after several stores encouraged contactless payments instead.

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