Tuesday, April 21, 2015

True number 1s of British notes in Spink auction

Spink will feature a great selection of black and white notes and other Bank of England prefixes and low numbers in their May 6th British Banknotes Auction. Of great interest is a group of Scottish notes from the Clydesdale Bank. These are all low or interesting numbers from the new £5 Polymer issue, including the numbers 000001-000010!

British notes

Three notes, bearing the signature of L.K.O'Brien, the Chief Cashier in 1955, are likely the latest dated true number 1s that will ever be available on the open market. This is quite probably a once in a life time opportunity for collectors.

That banknotes includes a 10 shillings ND (1955) (lot 3147 - Estimate £2,500 to £3,500) , serial number D86Z 000001; a £1, ND (1955), serial number L64J 000001 (lot 3148 - Estimate £3,000 to £4,000), and; £5, serial number Y71 000001 (lot 3150 - Estimate £10,000 to £15,000), black and white.

With any country, banknotes with low serial numbers attract a premium. If you are lucky enough to own a note with the serial number 1, that premium will invariably be very large. However, Bank of England notes may well be the best of all in this regard. This is because, since the late 1950s, all first issue notes with serial number 1 have gone straight to the Queen and are kept in the Royal Collection.


The highlight of the British sale must be the Bank of England, C.P.Mahon £500, London issue, dated 15 December 1925 (Lot 3082 - Estimate £22,000-£25,000). In 2012, Spink sold The David Kirch Collection of Bank of England, which was undoubtedly the most extensive collection of Black and White notes ever put together, but it did not feature a Mahon £500.

£500 notes of this period are excessively rare and were probably, along with their big brother, the £1000 note, exclusively used for interbank transactions and property deals (this could have represented enough to buy a semi detached house in Balham!). The note is indeed a rare find.

Catalogues for May 6th British Banknotes Auction can be accessed through the Spink website www.spink.com or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.