The Polymer banknotes are still catching the headlines this week after a £5 note was found with a mysterious secret message.
Two different people, who thought they had found the rare Jane Austen £5 note worth more than £20,000, have come forward so far.
The message on the banknote stated ‘Look for serial number AL22171910’ instead of a classic quote from Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Mansfield Park.
However, artist Graham Short’s gallery have denied the stunt is anything to do with them.
Four special £5 notes, engraved with a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen, were put into circulation by Mr Graham Short late last year and could fetch more than £20,000 at auction.
So could it be another Willy Wonka style golden ticket hunt?
Both findings have sparked theories of a copycat engraver offering clues to find other valuable notes – but it could just be someone creating a bit of mischief.
Just one fiver worth more than £20K left to find…
There is still one engraved fiver in circulation left to find by specialist micro-engraver Graham Short. Mr Short came up with the idea of engraving a 5mm portrait of Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen on the transparent part of the new plastic £5 notes, to mark the 200th anniversary of one of the best-loved English novelists this year.
The first of four notes featuring art by specialist micro-engraver Graham Short was found in a cafe in South Wales on 5th December while another was found the same month inside a Christmas card in Scotland. The third £5 note was found by a mystery old lady in Eniskillen in Northern Ireland who has donated it to charity.
So that means there is just one more rare £5 note left to find with the handiwork of Birmingham micro-artist Graham Short. It was spent somewhere in England back in December so for those hunting down the last remaining fiver, the serial number to look out for is AM 32 885554.
In other news… the Bank of England considers the use of Palm Oil
The Bank of England have been considering the use of palm oil as a replacement to animal fat in their polymer banknotes after complaints from vegans and religious groups.
The news that the polymer fiver contained animal fat sparked an online petition last year, calling for the Bank of England to stop using tallow in the production of the notes, which has since attracted more than 136,000 signatures.
However, in February, the Bank of England confirmed that it would stick with animal fat despite the concerns. In a statement, the Bank of England said “it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September.”
Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit. However, switching from the animal fat derivative may prove difficult and is likely to spark protests from environmentalists unless the palm oil can be sustainably sourced.
The Bank of England is now undertaking a consultation to seek the views of the public on options for the future composition of polymer notes, namely the next £20 note and future reprints of the £5 and £10.
Who will feature on the new £20 polymer banknote?
The new £20 polymer banknote is due to enter circulation in 2020 and will feature J.M.W. Turner. Click here to find out more about the £20 note.
The £20 note will be the third banknote made from Polymer, following on from the £5 note featuring Winston Churchill and the £10 note featuring Jane Austen. The £50 note will remain in circulation with the same design and there are currently no plans for them to be issued in polymer.
One of the new polymer £5 banknotes featuring Winston Churchill recently sold for a whopping £4,150 at a Bank of England charity auction on Monday 3rd October.
The banknote was only expected to fetch £800-£1200 at the charity event but it actually went for 830 times its face value!
Just last month we reported that banknotes with the serial number beginning with AA01 were selling online for hundreds of pounds. The banknotes which were released into circulation on September 13th are still catching the public’s attention with collectors looking to keep hold of the notes while they are still in good condition.
The first batch of banknotes from the presses carry a serial number starting AA01, followed by a six-digit number. There are 999,999 new fivers with the AA01 prefix and these are the ones selling for vast sums.
The £5 note was lot one at the event held in London and carried the serial number AA01 000017, making it the lowest available to the public according to auctioneers Spink.
A lot of bids came through online and it is thought that a lot of interest in these banknotes came from across the pond because Churchill was a well-known face over in the US.
The Bank of England Charity event raised a total of £203,820 with the money going to three worthy charities which were chosen by staff at the Bank of England.
A total of 601 banknotes were up for sale at the event and every banknote sold well over its estimate sale price.