Brit Award-winning singer songwriter Ben Howard could become the face of the UK’s first 21 'pound'.
The organisation behind the Totnes Pound – an alternative currency launched in 2007 – has said that the double Mercury Award-winning star has acknowledged an informal invitation to feature on a new batch of the town’s banknotes.
A spokesman for the Transition Town Totnes network said the 25-year-old, whose album Every Kingdom reached number four in the charts and who played this year’s Glastonbury Festival, was approached at a local cafe in his home town.
She said: “He was asked if we could put his mug on one of the new notes and he said he’d be well up for it.”
Around 70 local businesses in the town are currently signed up to the alternative currency scheme, which aims to encourage shippers to buy from independent traders and keep money circulating within the town.
But the pioneering scheme has been eclipsed by bigger and more ambitious city currencies; some of which even allow people to make electronic transactions.
Around 6,500 Totnes Pounds are currently in circulation, but the scheme only has one kind of banknote – worth just a single pound. And it’s thought that many of these have been bought and kept by visitors as souvenirs, rather than spent in local shops.
It’s hoped that the introduction of a variety of higher denomination banknotes, including the quirky 21 pound, will generate new consumer interest in the spending scheme.
While it had initially been hoped the new notes would be ready in time for Christmas, TTT is still raising the funding needed to produce and print the new currency.
Totnes Pound project manager John Elford said of the Ben Howard note: “It’s possible. But it’s all under wraps, for now. Nothing’s been confirmed.”