Presentation £5 note tops Dix Noonan Webb bidding
- Published: Jun 8, 2021, 9 AM
A Bank of England £5 bank note with serial number A01 000003 that was originally presented to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1957 sold for £27,280 ($38,710) including the 24% buyer’s fee at the Dix Noonan Webb auction of British, Irish and world bank notes on May 17 in London. This was the first time that a serial number 3 note, for a new design, had ever been offered on the open market. The note was housed in a blue leather presentation wallet dated Febr. 21, 1957, and showed Britannia at left, Saint George slaying the dragon at low center, and a blue back with lion and key at center. An anonymous buyer bought it, after an estimate of £18,000 to £22,000.
Thomasina Smith, head of numismatics (associate director) at the auction house, explained: “This important note is the lowest serial number note available to commerce and arguably the finest post-war Bank of England note in the public domain. Serial numbers one and two are held in the Royal Collection, having been presented to The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh.”
The next lot in the sale was the first Bank of England £5 note to include a portrait of the queen, also housed in a blue leather presentation wallet, dated Feb 21, 1963, and also with serial number A01 000003. It sold for £16,120 against an estimate of £12,000 to £16,000. This note was presented to Macmillan just before the premature end of his second term as prime minister in 1963. It was also bought by an anonymous buyer.
Irish bank notes were prevalent among the highest priced sellers. An extremely rare About Uncirculated £100 note from the Irish Free State, dated Sept. 10, 1928, sold for £14,880, while a £50 note of the same date sold for £9,920 in Very Fine. Both went to collectors in Ireland.
Andrew Pattison, head of the DNW bank note department said, “These two notes are some of the first issued by the independent Ireland in 1928, and are also the first to feature the iconic image of Lady Lavery leaning on a harp. There are now thought to be less than ten of each of these denominations still in existence from this early date.”
The sale also included Scottish notes including an unissued £12/20-shilling note dating from circa 1772 from Bannockburn, which sold for £2,976, and a number of Scottish errors.
Also at the upper sales levels were notes of the Palestine Currency Board, National Bank of Iraq, Bermuda, and the Government of the East Africa Protectorate.
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