There's no money like old money. Seven hundred very rare and collectible Hong Kong and Macau banknotes were put up for sale last weekend by the auction house Spink, with the most prized item being a Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China $25 bill from 1858 (pictured). The note was the first ever produced by the bank and is revered by collectors not only for its historical context - the first Hong Kong note to be backed by Sterling - but for the finely detailed printing. As auctioneer Barnarby Faull noted, everyone is interested in money. 'A banknote is 20 times bigger than a stamp. It's much better printed because it's got to be able to stop people from copying them. And they're advertisements for the country that publishes them.' As pundits predicted, the $25 bill's value has increased greatly. It sold for HK$782,000 to a prominent Hong Kong businessman. Other big-ticket items included a Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation $25 bill, printed in December 1884, which went under the hammer for HK$736,000 - more than three times the expected reserve. Meanwhile, an HSBC $100 note from 1890 sold for HK$598,000.Now that's inflation!