It’s been a busy few months for the humble five pound note.
Back in September, the snazzy, seemingly indestructible polymer sheet entered circulation – amid a fanfare of ridiculousness whereby freshly-minted notes were fetching thousands of pounds on eBay.
Then, last week, vegans seethed as it was revealed that a smidgeon of tallow – a substance derived from animal fat – was used to make the Winston Churchill-faced currency.
And now, in a sudden upswing in the £5’s fortunes, we can all giddily embark on our own Willy Wonka style search of our wallets, as there are four notes re-entering circulation that bear a very valuable doodle.
By way of commemorating Jane Austen’s forthcoming 200th birthday – while simultaneously flipping the bird to the Currency & Banknotes Act of 1928 – illustrious micro-engraver Graham Short has daubed a tiny picture of the author on a handful of fivers. And, considering his most recent work fetched £100,000, experts already value each note anywhere between £20,000 and £50,000.
The first of the four was spent in Scotland on Monday, with the further three soon to be cashed in England, Northern Ireland and Wales this week.
Anyone lucky enough to find one of the notes is been advised to contact the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery in Kelso, which launched the innovative project.
So get studying, but be sure to look very closely, as the drawings – each replete with a different Austen quote – are scarcely visible to the naked eye. Time to dust off that microscope from Christmas 1992.