Paper Money

New King Charles III £5 notes sold in Spink auction

Four denominations of the new polymer Bank of England notes showing King Charles III on the face and having low serial numbers will be auctioned by Spink in several sales this summer.

Images courtesy of Spink.

It has become a tradition in the British Isles that with each issue of a new bank note, a group of them with low serial numbers is set aside for sales at a charity auction conducted by Spink in London. The first of four such auctions after the Bank of England’s June 5 release of its polymer bank notes with the portrait of King Charles III took place on June 13.

This first sale consisted exclusively of £5 notes. Two hundred thirty-five of them were presented in 152 lots, and a separate final lot offered an uncut sheet of another 60 notes. Every lot in the sale exceeded expectations, in many case by multiples.

Among the highlights mentioned by Spink after the sale was the first-ever appearance at auction of a bank note with serial number 3, which was estimated to sell for £3,000 to £5,000 but ended up at 2,200 times its face value, or £11,000 (about $13,950). Other results cited by serial number were serial number 5 at £7,000 (1,400 times face), and serial number 7 at £4,800 (960 times face). The auction also featured a series of lucky number notes, such as 88 for £2,200, and 888 for £2,400. The uncut sheet realized £11,000.

These bank notes represent the first time in history that the Bank of England has changed the monarch on its currency, with King Charles III being the first king to appear. Queen Elizabeth II is the only other monarch to appear on the Bank of England’s currency, starting with the Series C £1 note in 1960.

The new £5 note series is identical in all respects to its predecessor except for the sovereign’s portrait. The back of the note shows Sir Winston Churchill and the Houses of Parliament.

Spink credits the attention paid to the sale not only to the uniqueness of the notes, but also the range of charities benefiting from it: The Childhood Trust, Shout (powered by Mental Health Innovations), The Trussell Trust, Carers UK, Demelza Hospice for Children, WWF-UK, Child Bereavement UK, Samaritans, London’s Air Ambulance Charity and The Brain Tumor Charity.

The remaining charity auctions will be on June 27, July 11, and July 24. None will include VAT or a buyer’s premium. 261 £10 bank notes will be offered, with the lowest serial number being HB01 000002. The serial number range for the bank notes offered is HB01 000002 through HB01 002024. The same number of £20 notes will be offered, with numbers from EH01 000002 throughEH01 002024. Finally, the auctions will offer 258 £50 bank notes with a serial number range of AJ01 000003 through AJ01 002024. Another 72 additional sets will be offered with serial numbers from 002025 through 002998. The last lot of each auction will offer an entire sheet of uncut bank notes.

Spink auctions are at https://live.spink.com.

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