Rare £500 note fetches £24,000 at auction
An extremely rare banknote went up for sale on Wednesday and fetched an eye-watering £24,000.
The £500 banknote was auctioned by the auction house Noonans and a bidding war started online.
The successful bidder shelled out the huge sum for the note from the Bank of England branch in Leeds, which dated back to 1936.
An unknown but “major collector” of Bank of England notes bought the item. It had been signed by Kenneth Peppiatt, who was the Bank’s chief cashier at the time.
Andrew Pattison, the head of the banknote department at Noonans, said: “It is indeed a fantastic note. £500 notes are very rare, and in fact only available from three Bank of England branches — London, Liverpool and Leeds — although some were issued in Birmingham and Manchester none have ever come to light.
“Of those available, Leeds branch, like this one, are the rarest. It came from a long-term collector and is only the second example ever to come to the open market.”
The note had previously been expected to fetch between £18,000 and £22,000. However, it quickly exceeded those expectations when two unknown parties entered a bidding war.
The much-anticipated banknote is the first such one to be sold at auction. It remains only the second £500 note to ever exist.
Banknotes that have early serial numbers are often sought after by collectors because many did not make circulation.
Typically when the Bank of England issues a new note, it donates those with significant serial numbers to the people and institutions involved in the development or to charity.
Other historical notes are set to begin circulating soon in the UK.
The first tender notes featuring King Charles were unveiled by the Bank of England at the end of last year. They will enter circulation in 2024.
The new £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes feature a portrait of the monarch and a smaller security imprint. They will gradually replace those featuring Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September 2022.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said: “This is a significant moment, as the King is only the second monarch to feature on our banknotes.
“People will be able to use these new notes as they start to enter circulation in 2024.”