Totnes 4th issue T£5. Totnes has announced that they will stop trading in these notes on 30th June, so get them while you can.
Notable as the first transition town to issue its own banknote, the Totnes Pound led the way for all the others at its launch on Wednesday, 7 March 2007. Only advertised locally, this quiet presentation received almost no national coverage, unlike later unveilings of other currencies, which have featured in national media, receiving newspaper and TV coverage. Who could have guessed what might have followed on the back of a quiet midweek talk on local economics!
In the end, one hundred and sixty people gathered at the church for the evening. As the audience arrived, each was given one of the 'new' Totnes pounds – the first pilot of the first British 'toe-dipping' trial into the local currency world. Rob Hopkins, the impetus behind the transition movement, invited the audience to wave the notes in the air. As he says in his book, 'The Transition Handbook', that was quite a sight.
At the time, a mere 17 shops accepted the currency around the town. How the concept has grown nationally over the past twelve years! This first issue note was largely unseen by collectors until recently and has been likened to the 'pink unicorn' of the Transition Town money world.
The fourth and current issue was launched on the 20 May 2014 at the Civic Hall. The New Lion Brewery offered a limited edition 'Totnes Pound Ale' at the event, while as a special offer, T£21 were sold for sterling £20.
This launch received far more coverage than the quiet unveiling of the first issue, seven years previously. Ben Howard, whose picture is on the T£10 notes, attended the launch and signed ten special copies.
Like the Lewes scheme, Totnes issues £21 notes – handy if one needs to pay in guineas or celebrate that special birthday! An electronic version is available by text message or the Cyclos app., but details of that are not relevant to this book. However, it does add to the popularity of their initiative.