Paper Money

1936 Bank of England £1,000 note among auction highlights

The last issue of the £1,000 Bank of England bank note, dated Nov. 20, 1936, will be the centerpiece of Dix Noonan Webb’s 631-lot auction of British and Irish currency Sept. 12 in London. 

The note has the signature of Kenneth O. Peppiat, the chief cashier of the Bank of England from 1934 to 1949. It is expected to sell for at least £24,000 ($29,365) in Extremely Fine condition. DNW points out that the note can still be exchanged at face value at the Bank of England.

Reflecting on its scarcity, Andrew Pattison, head of Dix Noonan Webb’s bank note department, said, “£1,000 was an immense sum in the 1930s, and could have bought several large houses or businesses in some areas of the UK. Hardly anyone would even have known about these notes, let alone seen or handled one.” 

Another Bank of England issue, a £50 note of May 6, 1858, signed by Matthew Marshall and of the highest rarity, is estimated at £10,000 to £15,000 ($12,280 to $18,420). It is called Fine to About Very Fine, but has the lower right corner torn off. This is not damage but, rather, is a deliberate cancellation. 

A £20 note of Dec. 22, 1943, that is a wartime issue of the Central Bank of Ireland with the wartime code letter A, is expected to sell for £8,000 to £12,000 in Very Fine. The A code, called an “Emergency Tracer Overprint Code” (ETO), was used as a security device to keep track of the notes from the time they were printed in England until they were delivered in Ireland. The letters were chosen at random. Had anything untoward happened to a batch notes before delivery, those notes could then be easily canceled.

The website says that all £20 notes had the ETO “A,” indicating that “it is reasonable to assume that they could all have been delivered to Dublin in a single batch.”

The sale also includes a comprehensive 110-lot collection of Isle of Man currency, covering from the early 19th century to 2006. Included is a Fine quality Parr’s Bank Ltd., Isle of Man £1 note dated June 1, 1906, which is estimated to bring £4,000 to £5,000. This is one of 12 examples of this date listed by records as not redeemed. None has appeared on the market since 2006.

The sale catalog and online bidding is available here.

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