A five pound note sold for 85 times it’s face value last week.
The Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet Bank five pound note was dated 1833 and expected to reach between £100 and £200 in the February 20 auction in Wells but was snapped up for £425 by one eager buyer at McCubbing & Redfern, Wells Auction Rooms.
Provincial private banks started in the 18th century but it was only by the 1820s that most of the major towns had their own banks, and each issued their own local banknotes.
These banks, however, were rare and often shortlived with many having precarious financial stability.
Banknotes at this time were almost like IOUs and could only be used locally. If the bank collapsed the notes became worthless.
By 1826 legislation was established whereby banks could join forces into what was called joint stock banks.
This offered the smaller establishments stability.
The Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet Bank was established in 1812 by partners John Lilly, Charles Brown, John Fry Reeves and Marshall Williams.
Wells itself had a branch of the bank open in 1820.
The Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet Bank, along with several other West Country banks, was later incorporated into Stuckey’s Banking Co. of Langport in 1835.
Banknotes from these early banks are rare and highly sought after by local historians, families and of course, banknote collectors.
It is was in the late 1950s that banknote collecting began.
By the 1960s virtually every country in the world used banknotes and it is an area of collecting that is highly accessible. As a hobby, banknote collecting is interesting, easy to store and display and can prove to be an excellent investment; especially if one specialises in the rarer, quality banknotes.