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Interesting though convoluted argument, Veronica. The statement dates back to when the UK was on the gold standard; a banknote was a promissory note that could technically be exchanged for the face value in gold. (basically; see http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes... for more). Nowadays you can take a fiver into the Bank of England and they'll cheerfully pay you the face value ... as another fiver. (I tried it once as a daft student in Liverpool and the kind lady at the Bank of England branch up there said they get people doing that all the time just to see what'll happen!)Tony Walton, 13 years ago.