Pensioner pockets £410,000 for rare notes

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The Independent Online

Rare Australian banknotes found hidden under the lining paper of a chest of drawers have fetched more than £400,000 at auction, it emerged today.

The six notes were found lying undisturbed and in mint condition and were identified as a series of 1913 Commonwealth of Australia banknotes.

The owner, who is aged in his 80s and who wants to remain anonymous, was due to move into a retirement home and called in his local auctioneers to go through the house in Yorkshire.

Rodney Tennant, of Leyburn-based auctioneers Tennants, said: "He simply didn't know they were there. He hadn't a clue.

"It was the era when parents put things away and forgot about them. The world is full of treasures.

"I'm sure there are a huge amount of things hidden away and people have no idea they are there.

"It is discoveries like this which makes my job such a pleasure."

Mr Tennant said it took some time to authenticate the notes after they were initially discovered in the house in the Yorkshire Dales.

"I went to see him and he thanked me for selling the china and furniture etc and I had to tell him to stay sitting down as I told him about the notes.

"Frankly, it took a long time to persuade him the notes were his," said Mr Tennant.

The sale of the bank notes was handled by specialist auctioneers Spink in London who set up an auction earlier this week.

They sold for £410,490 to an undisclosed buyer.