From Bank to Battlefield

Emergency Issue Banknotes

Due to a shortage of banknotes following the outbreak of war, it had been necessary to produce some special notes. One of these, which came to be known as the Rainbow Note, was an ‘emergency issue’ of the one pound note. It was circulated in 1914 and, because it had no security features, could be printed quickly. However, it could also easily be copied. Counterfeits soon appeared and the note was withdrawn in April 1915. Another special note, a five shilling denomination, was prepared for issue during 1916 when it was estimated that, due to a rise in the price of silver, the coins would be more expensive than the value of the coins themselves. As it turned out, however, the paper note was never issued.

Photo of An 'emergency issue' of the one pound note, which came to be known as the Rainbow Note, was circulated in 1914.
Photo of a five Shillings note