An 1821 bank note from Scotland, signed by the man who caused the
bank to fail after he stole its deposits, will be offered during the
Sept. 6 to 7 Heritage Signature Auction in Long Beach, Calif.
The £1 note (Lot 15795) issued for the East Lothian Banking Co.
(Dunbar, Scotland) is signed by cashier William Borthwick. The note is
graded Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality by Paper Money Guaranty.
The bank was established June 1, 1810, and Borthwick was recruited
by the directors of the bank “at the onset of the business and moved
from his employment with the Falkirk Union Banking Company,” according
to the catalog description.
Though Borthwick’s age at the time of his employment is uncertain,
“it is thought he was in the region of 20 to 22 years of age. His
youth for such a position is thought to be reflective of the general
lack of experienced Scottish bankers, which was the consequence when
many experienced Scottish bankers were recruited by other Scottish,
United Kingdom, and international banks,” according to the catalog.
The bank’s directors, however, found that Borthwick did not meet
The catalog notes that apparently Borthwick stated his intention
to “kidnap the directors of the bank, to imprison them in air-holed
vessels, and to then set them off on a trade ship to Danzig. Although,
whether these comments were a true intention or not is difficult to say.”
On April 10, 1822, Borthwick, possibly alone or with an
accomplice, “removed cash and bills from the bank and departed,”
according to the catalog. “It is very likely that the economic climate
of the time was causing other businesses in which he had an interest
(with his Brother, Bruce Borthwick) financial difficulty and that
William Borthwick was [propping] up these businesses using the Bank’s
funds. When he could no longer support this he fled. There is some
debate as to whether he ever stood trial for the offence although it
is known that he was arrested in South America.”
Other auction highlights
Other notes to be offered include a 1941 French Equatorial Africa
1,000-franc specimen note (Lot 15513). The note was issued by one of
France’s colonies during World War II that “rallied to the Free French
forces in August 1940,” according to the catalog.
The note, graded PMG Extremely Fine 40, has the word SPECIMEN
perforated towards the bottom edge.
A 1923 £1 note (Lot 15016) issued by the Commonwealth of Australia
is graded PMG About Uncirculated 55 EPQ, with a single center fold,
according to the catalog.
A 1903 5-boliviano face proof (Lot 15124) for El Banco Francisco
Argandona is roulette-canceled SPECIMEN at the bottom. The note is PMG
graded Choice Unc. 63.
A pair of 1905 color face and back proofs of a 20-franc note (Lot
15393) for Dansk-Vestindiske National Bank (Danish West Indies) will
be offered as one lot. PMG graded the face proof Choice About
Uncirculated 58 EPQ and assigned a grade of Choice Uncirculated 64 to
the back proof, with a mention of a small tear in the right margin.
Both pieces are roulette-canceled SPECIMEN near the bottom edge.
A 1906 100-Egyptian-pound specimen note (Lot 15434) depicting the
Philae Temple is perforated CANCELLED at lower edge on back. PMG
graded this previously mounted piece as Uncirculated 61.
A 1982 £50 Republic of Ireland note (Lot 15637), the highest
denomination issued from 1976 to 1982, is graded PMG Superb Gem
Uncirculated 67 EPQ.
A $5 specimen note (Lot 15791) for the Barclays Bank Dominion,
Colonial and Overseas for Saint Kitts and Nevis is PMG-graded Choice
The two-session live auction is to be held at the Long Beach
Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif.
The first session, scheduled for Sept. 6, offers more than 400
lots of notes from Afghanistan to El Salvador.
The second session, scheduled for Sept. 7, offers more than 100
lots of notes from Equatorial African States to the Isle of Man.
A third online-only session on Sept. 10 offers more than 700
miscellaneous world notes.
Lots are available for viewing online at the Heritage website, www.HA.com.
For more information about the auction or to request a catalog,
contact the auction firm at Heritage Auction Galleries, 3500 Maple
Avenue, 17th Floor Dallas, TX 75219-3941 or telephone the firm toll
free at 800-872-6467. ■