Some of the rarest and most collectible notes held by NatWest will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity.
Hundreds of notes will go up for auction with a face value of around £21,000, but leading collector’s note auctioneer Spink estimates the auctions could fetch more than £400,000.
Some of the most collectible notes are also the newest and are estimated at £1,800 each.
For example, a never-circulated Royal Bank of Scotland polymer £50 note with serial number AA888888 featuring Flora Stevenson and Randolph Crescent in Edinburgh has an estimated maximum value of £1,800.
A never-circulated Royal Bank of Scotland polymer £50 note under the serial number AA888888 has an estimated maximum value of £1,800
Low serial number notes are also desirable for collectors, and most of these notes will increase to around ten times their face value.
The auctions will feature notes from the Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, the historic National Bank of Scotland and the Bank of England.
Some of the most historic notes date back more than 100 years to World War I, including a 10 shilling Bank of England note from 1919.
The first of three auctions will take place on 29 November 2022 with the proceeds donated to the Trussell Trust, whose network of over 1,300 food bank centers support people across the UK who cannot afford what they need. essential.
Another sale will take place on December 16, 2022, with a new auction scheduled for January 19 of next year.
All auctions will take place at Spink’s headquarters on Southampton Row in London.
A National Commercial Bank of Scotland £100 note, printed on 16 September 1959 under serial number A011888, is estimated to be worth £800-£1000 at auction.
What makes banknotes valuable?
Although banknote collecting may not be as popular as stamp or coin collecting, it still has a large following around the world.
Banknotes that are unique and rare are often the most sought after. This could relate to a searched serial number, certain images, or historical context.
Arnas Savickas, Head of Banknotes Europe and US at Spink, says: ‘Expensive and collectible banknotes are often expensive because they are rare and have some historical heritage.
A £10 Ulster Bank polymer, printed on 12 April 2018 under serial number AA888888, is estimated to be worth £650 to £850
‘For example, the Palestine banknotes or the Zanzibar banknotes, or the Hijrah banknotes because Hijrah was invaded and now it is Medina and almost all of their banknotes were destroyed. So they’re extremely rare and that’s why they’re expensive.’
The condition of the banknote is also important. According to the auctioneer, Warwick & Warwick, pristine uncirculated notes are often worth more than their circulating counterparts.
‘Well-centered notes’ also tend to be of higher value, due to their greater appeal among collectors.
Minor damage or flaws will cause the value to drop. The greater the damage, the greater the loss.
Some banknote collectors also target specific styles or images. These could be animals or buildings and landmarks, for example.
Savickas adds: ‘It could be a bench that has special design features that make it desirable.
‘It could be that there is a special feature or design of the banknote. For example, someone might want to collect all the series of birds on banknotes they can get their hands on.’
What’s so special about the NatWest auction?
According to Savickas, what makes the notes sold at the NatWest auction rarer are the serial numbers.
Most British banknotes have a standard six-digit serial number.
Some banknote collectors are eager to get their hands on unique or attractive serialized banknotes.
“There are low serial numbers,” says Savickas. “It starts at four and goes to what we call solid numbers, which means that all serial numbers are made up of a single number. For example, there are eight digits of one.
‘In this auction on Tuesday, we also have four leaves. The sheets are banknote samples. Sample banknotes are not legal tender.
‘They’re real banknotes, but they have cancellations or serial numbers like zero and that’s very collectible because it’s so rare.
‘For these RBS notes being sold at auction, specimens will only be available on these sheets. So if anyone wants a specimen, they’ll have to get that sheet.
An uncirculated Royal Bank of Scotland £20 polymer note, printed on 27 May 2019, bearing a serial number AA000008, depicting Scottish businesswoman Catherine ‘Kate’ Cranston. Estimated to be worth £500-£700
Do your homework before collecting
Collecting banknotes is more of a hobby than an investment, so it is important for anyone thinking of getting started to keep that in mind.
That being said, like anything that has a finite supply, there is a chance that the values will increase over time.
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to put all their money into collecting tickets,” says Savickas, “just like I wouldn’t advise them to put all their savings into cryptocurrency.”
“But if you were to just make historical observation based on opinion, then yes, anything that has a fixed supply generally increases in value over time, at least in line with inflation.
“Over the medium to long term, banknotes have remained fairly consistent with inflation.”
Instead of concentrating on the potential earnings, however, Savickas advises that it’s best to focus on enjoying your new hobby. But just make sure you do your homework first.
“Ultimately, do your research and don’t buy anything on impulse,” he adds.
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