Wednesday, November 29

Rare new fivers worth £50k up for grabs in Willy-Wonka style challenge



The rare note ENGRAVED bank notes worth as much as £50,000 are to be circulated in a Willy Wonka-style challenge by a Scottish art gallery.

Tiny portraits of Jane Austen have been added to four of the new ‘plastic’ £5 notes, next to the images of Sir Winston Churchill and Big Ben.

The design was created by artist Graham Short, who famously engraved the words of the Lord’s Prayer on to the head of a pin, and were made in partnership with the THH Gallery, based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders.

The new Bank of England notes are to be put into public circulation in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland tomorrow (3 December) .

On each of the notes, Short has engraved a 5mm portrait of Austen encircled by a famous quote on the transparent section to the right of Big Ben.

© Daily Record The fiver up close

Four of them will be ‘spent’ this weekend, with a fifth donated to the Jane Austen Society.

Artist Scott, 70, has engraved miniature art on to items such as a razor blade edge, pinhead, brass screw, football stud and Stephen Fry’s fountain pen.

His last piece of art, a portrait of HM The Queen, engraved on a speck of gold inside the eye of a needle, sold for £100,000.

Short said: “I’m always looking to do something different and as soon as I saw the new £5 note I thought ‘wouldn’t it be good if I could engrave something on it?’

“I didn’t know what but then I found out it was going to be the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and her image is also going on the new £10 note, so it ties in nicely with that.

“The beauty of this is that you can’t see the engraving at all, but when you turn the note and the light comes at a different angle it appears. I like to call it invisible engraving.

“If somebody across Scotland finds they have one I hope they put it on eBay and get some extra money for Christmas.”

Similar work by the artist has been insured for around £50,000.

Contemporary artist Tony Huggins-Haig, who owns THH gallery with his wife Yvonne, said: “I come from a working class family and my mission is to help to give art a much wider appeal,”

“Graham is one artist we work with and he wanted to help what we do by coming up with something to help the ordinary man in the street during these hard times.

“The popularity of his work has gone through the roof worldwide with clients now including the Royal Household, Scottish Parliament, Rolls Royce and Chanel, which is great, but it’s no longer accessible to most people. But I think the £5 note idea is a cracker. It’s real Willie Wonka stuff and we can’t wait for someone to find they have one.”

20p pieces worth £200 – are there valuable coins lurking in your wallet?