Jane Austen graces new British banknote


A famous 19th-century British novelist has become the only woman -- apart from Queen Elizabeth II -- to grace the country's £10 banknote.

The new plastic note, which went into circulation on Thursday, bears the image of Jane Austen, one of the nation's greatest authors, who lived between 1775 and 1817.

The polymer is, according to the Bank of England "cleaner, safer and stronger". It is the second polymer note the U.K. now uses after a £5 note -- which was criticized by some groups because it contained a trace of animal fat.

Austen "joins the Churchill £5 in the first family of polymer Bank of England banknotes and a new £20 note featuring [painter] J.M.W Turner will follow in 2020," the Bank of England said.

The £10 note -- worth just over $13 -- contains sophisticated security features which, designers say, make it difficult to counterfeit.

Many of Austen's works dealt with women's dependence on marriage to gain social status in 19th-century Britain.

Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Emma are some of her best-known books, many of which have been adapted for film or television.

The new note's circulation coincides with the 200th anniversary of Austen's death.

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