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Rare ‘golden ticket’ £5 note found in Christmas card

The note is one of only four engraved versions that can worth at least US$24,000

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 11:35am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 11:35am

A rare U.K. £5 note thought to be worth tens of thousands times more than its face value has been found in a Christmas card.

The note is one of only four engraved with an image of Jane Austen, with each featuring a quotation from one of her novels.

They are the work of Graham Short, a British artist specialising in miniature engravings, in a project launched by the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery in Scotland. The notes are intended to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death later this year.

Tony Huggins-Haig, speaking to CNBC via telephone, described the notes as “almost a Willy Wonka golden ticket.” He explained that the notes – being of low monetary value – were “likely to end up in anybody’s pocket” and were also important as a means of “bringing art to people.”

The notes were released secretly around the U.K. in early December. Huggins-Haig said that they were spent in local businesses.

The latest note is the second to be found, inside a Christmas card at the end of last year. All that is known about the finder is “somebody in education,” according to Huggins-Haig.

The first note turned up in a cafe in south Wales. Both finders have requested to remain anonymous, but have said that they intend to keep – rather than sell – their lucky fivers.

Huggins-Haig said that Short’s artwork usually retails for between £50,000 to £100,000 (US$61,490 to US$122,980) or more. He approximated that the notes were worth at least £20,000 (US$24,596).

Anyone finding one of the engraved notes should contact the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery.

Iconic nineteenth-century novelist Jane Austen is set to feature more prominently on the U.K.’s currency, with her image being displayed on new £10 notes put into circulation in the summer of this year.

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