Auction recap: England’s first-ever polymer notes bring big money

Earlier this month, the Bank of England offered more than 600 banknotes with a total face value of £9,375 (about $15,000 Cdn.) as part of a Spink auction in London.

The Charity Auction of Bank of England Notes, held Oct. 3, was highlighted by a collection of newly issued £5 notes—the bank’s first polymer issue—that depict wartime hero Winston Churchill.

“The auction began at 5 p.m. and continued ’til 8 p.m., with a jam-packed room and voracious bidding on the phones and internet,” said Spink auctioneer Andrew Pattison.

The auction began with a £5 banknote bearing the lowest serial number—AA01 000017—of the bank’s new polymer notes.

Lot 118 was this £10 note with a serial number 'LH01 000001'. It realized £3,800.

Lot 118 was this £10 note with a serial number reading ‘LH01 000001’. It realized £3,800 (about $6,085 Cdn).

“The lot attracted much attention with an excited flurry of bidding,” said Pattison, who added this initial lot “set the tone for the rest of the auction by exceeding its estimate significantly at £4,150.”

That’s about $6,650 Cdn.

THRILLING RESULTS

Pattison said the auction—what he reffered to as a “white glove sale”— was a “great success,” adding every item sold for more than its pre-sale estimate.

Lot 126 was this £20 note with a serial number 'JH41 000001'. It realized £5,200.

Lot 126 was this £20 note with a serial number reading ‘JH41 000001’. It realized £5,200 (about $8,325 Cdn.).

“Spink is thrilled with these results and the enthusiasm in the room was palpable,” he said. “Everyone wanted to get their hands on the lowest serial number possible.”

Altogether, the sale realized £203,820 (more than $328,000 Cdn.).

This money will be divided among three charities, each of which is dedicated to supporting youth and was chosen by Bank of England staff. These are the Myotubular Trust, The Lilly Foundation; and Bliss, the U.K.’s leading charity for premature babies.

Lot 134 was this £50 note with a serial number 'AJ36 000001'. It realized £8,500.

Lot 134 was this £50 note with a serial number reading ‘AJ36 000001’. It realized £8,500 (about $13,600 Cdn.).

“It is always a very special type of excitement when compassion is combined with a collector’s zeal to drive an auction,” said auctioneer Barnaby Faull. “Spink very much looks forward to the next”.

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