A £5 note that could be worth 10,000 times its face value has been found in a Christmas card in the Scottish Borders. It is unclear whether the sender knew what they had included.
The note is the second of four special fivers engraved with a portrait of Jane Austen to be discovered this month, and it is thought that each note could be sold for around £50,000. The notes were released secretly by specialist micro-engraver Graham Short along with the first batch of the new Bank of England plastic £5 notes.
Following the discovery two weeks ago of one in Wales and yesterday's find in Scotland just two more remain in general circulation; these are believed to have been distributed in England and Northern Ireland.
The banknotes have the following serial numbers and quotes (AM32 885552 and AM32 885554 have already been found.):
- AM32 885551: "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more," from the Austen novel, Emma
- AM32 885552: "To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love," from Pride and Prejudice
- AM32 885553: "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of," from the Austen novel, Mansfield Park
- AM32 885554: "I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good," from Pride and Prejudice
Both recipients have decided to remain anonymous but have indicated that they will be keeping the notes rather than selling them, for the time being.
Short said: "I don't know whether I'm disappointed that they haven't wanted to sell them because I wanted them to have some money for Christmas, but the fact that they are so happy to keep them, that's nice as well."
The Birmingham engraver came up with the idea of etching Jane Austen on the transparent part of the new plastic notes to mark the 200th anniversary of her death next year.
His main hope is that he does not find one himself. He said: "When someone gives me a £5 note in my change now I always check. Wouldn't it be awful if it came back to me? People would say it was a fix."