£40,000 Georgian banknote found in desk

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A man who bought an antique desk for £500 has found an old banknote worth up to £40,000 in its secret compartment.

A man who bought an antique desk for £500 has found an old banknote worth up to £40,000 in its secret compartment.

The note, dated 12 October 1790, has a face value of £100, enough to buy a big house in its day, but auctioneers reckon it could fetch many times that sum. The buyer, who did not want to be named, thought the hand-written note was rubbish but after examining it found the words "Bank of England".

Barnaby Faull, of Spinks auctioneers in London, said yesterday: "To the layman it resembles a cheque. In fact it is a very remarkable one - the earliest known example of its type to have survived. The note is still unredeemed by the Bank of England, which means that if you went there they would give you the face value."

The note promises to pay "Mr Ab Newland", chief cashier of the Bank of England at the time, or the "bearer on demand, the sum of One Hundred Pounds". Mr Faull said all banknotes were still in the registry at the Bank. "This is the only country in the world where you can still redeem a note after all this time - hence the expression 'as safe as the Bank of England'."

The note will be auctioned on 6 October and is estimated at £22,000. Mr Faull was confident it would fetch double that.

Comments