Paper Money

UK finder’s ‘error’ may be worthless altered note

Several UK media entities have hyped a UK resident’s find of a £10 note lacking Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait as an error worth a “fortune,” but an expert says it is likely just one of many similarly altered notes.

Image courtesy of The

The Sun and The Mirror, two of England’s more illustrious tabloids, told a feel-good story on March 14 and 17 about how an “error” note from an ATM in Manchester was going to make a fortune for a 72-year-old pensioner. He probably won’t be feeling good for long.

The Mirror’s large, bold type headline screamed “Rare ‘faceless’ £10 note withdrawn from cash machine could net pensioner a fortune,” as it went on to tell the story of Peter Coleman, who noticed that Queen Elizabeth II was missing her face on a £10 note he withdrew from a cash dispenser. When he took the bank note into a shop the clerk questioned its legitimacy, but then scanned it and acknowledged that it was real.

Coleman decided to keep this “print error” and auction it. The Mirror says that it could be worth a “handsome sum” to the right collector. He explained that he saw his discovery of the note as a “sign.”

Placing the note at auction will probably be easier said than done. Andrew Pattison, head of the Banknote Department at Dix Noonan Webb in London, recounted how “one poor chap around 3 years ago, who hadn’t been collecting long, spent a fortune (several thousand pounds at least) on a collection of polymer notes with various different bits scraped off. He was heartbroken when I told him the truth.”

Pattison explained that he has seen countless examples of these kinds of fakes appearing since the UK started to issue polymer bank notes. He said that it is quite easily possible to scrape off sections of the notes and create some quite spectacular “errors.” Many collectors, he added, “have been fooled and lost a lot of money.

There has not yet been a single genuine UK polymer error. He doubts there ever will be, with the way all notes are checked by computers before being released.

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments