The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note is a banknote of the pound sterling and is issued by three Scottish retail banks and are in circulation in Scotland. Currently, the three retail banks allowed to print notes for circulation in Scotland are the Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank.

The £1 note is currently the smallest denomination of banknote issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland. The bank ceased regular production of £1 notes in 2001; the denomination is still in circulation although rarely seen in cash transactions since about 2006

To aid identification the Scottish banks have all agreed to issue notes of specific value in the same predominant colour. Thus £1 notes are green, £5 notes are blue, £10 notes are brown, £20 notes are maroon/purple, £50 notes are green and £100 notes are red.

This colour scheme is similar to current Bank of England notes (except that the Bank of England £50 note is red rather than green and they do not issue a £100 note). The size of the notes is also consistent across the three Scottish banks and the Bank of England.

Scottish banknotes are unusual, firstly because they are issued by retail banks, not government central banks, and secondly, because they are technically not legal tender anywhere in the United Kingdom – not even in Scotland, where in law no banknotes – even those issued by the Bank of England – are defined as legal tender. Formally, they are classified as promissory notes, and the law requires that the issuing banks hold a sum of Bank of England banknotes  or gold equivalent to the total value of notes issued.

The fact that the notes are not defined as legal tender means that they are not withdrawn from circulation in the same way as the Bank of England notes, which cease to be legal tender on a given date. Instead the Scottish banks withdraw old notes from circulation as they are banked. Any notes still in circulation continue to be honoured by banks, but retailers may refuse to accept older notes.

The cotton note first issued in 1987 bears an image of Lord Ilay on the obverse and a vignette of Edinburgh Castle on the reverse.

In March 2018 paper notes were being phased out in favour of polymer notes around the UK. Indeed, on 1 March 2018, paper Scottish £5 and £10 notes were removed from issue.



More information:

Material(s) Paper
Item number MBPO342

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Have you seen a Scottish Bank Note?
  • Perhaps you lived in Scotland at one time or been on holiday there?

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