How can a pounds 1 note be worth over pounds 50,000?

Twenty years of inflation should have taught us that keeping old notes and coins is a mug's game. But really old money can be worth more than its equivalent in gold. A Bank of England pounds l note sold at auction in 1993 for pounds 57,200. Amittedly this was no ordinary example, for dated 2 March 1797 and bearing the serial number `2', it is the second note of the denomination ever issued by the Bank.

On April 24 Spink will be offering another Bank of England rarity at auction - a pounds l,000 note. It surprises many people to learn that the Bank issued pounds l,000 notes from the eighteenth century to the early 1940s.

Given that even in the 1930s, pounds l,000 would comfortably buy a couple of houses in Greater London, they were treated with care. According to the Bank's records, 63 examples apparently remain at large, although most of these would have perished in the bombing raids of the Second World War.

The example which will be offered by Spink on Wednesday (pictured above) is a specimen dated 7 September 1922. Specimen notes were issued by the Bank to other central banks to assist identification. Over the years, revolutions and a less meticulous attitude to currency in certain countries has resulted in some getting into private hands. However, large denomination specimens are of the highest rarity. Spink is anticipating its example will realise pounds 20,000-pounds 25,000.

A banknote is not "just money". It can take up to a year to engrave a single plate which is used to print just one side of a note. Just look at the intricate design of any currency note. There are watermarks, elaborate designs and an incredibly subtle use of colour. These are all techniques used to deter the forger. A banknote is where art and technology meet and the result is a miniature work of art.

Banknotes have certainly been an expanding field of collectabilia in recent years. There are two quite distinct markets. Serious collectors are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for just a single note, while there are others who get just as much pleasure simply spending a few pence. It is possible to purchase a pack of 100 uncirculated world notes for pounds 29.

Barnaby Faull, who heads Spink's banknote department, believes the market is now buoyant because banknotes escaped the investment buying of the 1970s and 1980s. Certainly both the coin and stamp markets suffered from an influx of speculators who were buying solely for investment reasons.

They learnt to their cost that when sellers outnumber buyers, prices fall dramatically. Whereas many historic coins may be purchased today for the same prices at which they were selling in the mid-1970s, the market for banknotes has risen in recent years.

The price for Hong Kong banknotes bearing low serial numbers has risen the most dramatically. For example, a Government of Hong Kong $1 which had been sold by a dealer in the late 1970s for pounds 70 found a buyer at Sotheby's in 1993 for pounds 28,600. The attraction of the piece was the serial number - A00001. However, Simon Narbeth of the specialist paper money dealers Colin Narbeth & Son, avoids all notes from the Far East on the basis that the market for the material is not collector-dominated.

There is a strong collectors' demand for English and Welsh provincial banknotes. From about 1780, over 900 different banks operating outside London have issued their own notes. Alphabetically from Ashby-de-la-Zouch to York, local paper money supplemented the nation's coinage to oil the wheels of commerce. Many of these banks failed, while the survivors merged to form the high street banks we know today.

From 1844, their note issuing was strictly controlled and banks which merged were obliged to refrain from printing their own money. The last privately printed banknote was issued in 1920 by Fox, Fowler of Wellington, the year before it merged with Lloyds.

Visually, these provincial notes can be most appealing, with vignettes of rural scenes, allegorical figures, famous local buildings, or simply a shield of arms. They are an integral part of local history with the early ones being signed by the partners who owned the bank. Today, the notes generally sell for pounds 100-pounds 200 each, but rare items can change hands for over pounds 1,000.

For those with an interest in historical events, a note issued during the French Revolution may appeal - a 1795 example can be secured for around pounds 6. A note hand-signed by General Gordon during the siege of Khartoum is a little more expensive, but can be purchased from around pounds 180, whereas a note issued during the siege of Mafeking under the authority of Baden Powell retails at around pounds 50-pounds 100.

Should banknote collecting appeal to you, whatever you buy, treat your acquisitions as an interest and not as an investment. Regard any increases in value as an added bonus rather than a goal in itself.

For a complimentary copy of Coin News, which incorporates Banknote News (cover price pounds 2) and a free banknote, send 50p in stamps to cover postage, together with your name and address to: The Independent Readers' Offer,Token Publishing, PO Box 20, Axminster, Devon EX13 7YT

The Spink sale of Banknotes takes place on 24 April at 10am. For further details telephone 0171-930 7888.

For a complimentary list of paper money for sale, contact: Colin Narbeth & Son. Tel: 0171-379 6975.

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
peopleAnti-LGBT campaigner Vitaly Milonov suggested Tim Cook could bring 'Aids or gonorrhea' to Russia
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Finacial products from our partners
Property search

How shops make you spend: The subtle art of the savvy retailer revealed

'A third extra for free', gift sets, recommendations for a present for Grandpa - just some ways to make you pay more than you intended

Many people unwittingly end up invested in sectors at odds with their ethical beliefs.

Simon Read: It is time to think again about ethical money

The ethical investment industry is giving itself a makeover, but the problem seems to lie more with getting its message and its methods into the mainstream

Going down the wrong road: parking fines are
nudging people into debt difficulties

Charges related to car parking rising and leading to serious money woes

Going down the wrong road: parking fines are nudging people into debt difficulties

Stacks of income: Drax is among the companies in Neil Woodford’s portfolio that he believes will pay strong dividends

Mark Dampier: Woodford’s young companies could be the stars of the future

Stacks of income: Drax is among the companies in Neil Woodford’s portfolio that he believes will pay strong dividends

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Simon Read: The markets might not be calm but you should be

Don't panic, it’s a wise idea to check investments regularly to ensure they are on target for your hoped-for returns

Only six per cent of the 13,000 new homes bought during Help to Buy’s first nine months were in London

Money Insider: Help to Buy must be boosted by building

With little or no wage growth being seen in the UK, increasing house-price inflation could see the number of first-time buyers slide further, unless there’s a new accelerated house building programme

House buyers can take their pick of more than 3,500 home loans, the most available since the financial crisis

Simon Read: Those cheap home loans may be built on shaky foundations

You should ignore the headline offers and trickery and work out the total cost of borrowing under different deals

Denise Leigh, who appeared in a production
of Rigoletto with Alan Opie, was left without an essential service

The opera singer, the broadband delay and why customers aren’t divas if they expect a good service

Denise Leigh, who appeared in a production of Rigoletto with Alan Opie, was left without an essential service

Problem debt adds £8bn cost to the economy

A charity has calculated the cost to us all of unmanageable debt – from lost productivity to the extra demands on the NHS

Payday loan stores are to face tougher regulations after moves proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) call on more responsible lending

Calls for payday lenders to sign up to an officially recognised price comparison site

The regulators are at last tackling the high-profile payday lenders, but they appear to be ignoring the growing problem of internet loan firms

According to the research, only one in five customers trusts their energy company

Rap for energy firms won’t stop the rising prices

As the cold weather hits, the question of soaring bills will be felt by each of us at home

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

    £20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

    Marketing Manager

    £40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

    Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

    £45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

    Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

    £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes