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1806 £1 Newland found in library book..

1806 J1 Newland found in library book and sells for bargain price on eBay

I was skimming through the offerings for sale on eBay one evening and couldnít believe my eyes. A Newland one pound note was up for auction with a starting price of 99 pence and an unknown reserve. The story surrounding the note was amazing. A house clearance firm based in Lincoln had been asked to check out the remaining contents of Claxby House near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. Most of the goodies had been sold already, so they were not expecting too much, although this was a large old house which had been occupied by the same family for generations.

Among the leftovers were a few old leather-bound books and on opening one of these, the seller was surprised to find a large piece of well-used paper which he presumed had served as a bookmark. On closer examination, he noticed a Britannia, some printing and two manuscript signatures. For this was a banknote and a very special one at that. It was no less than an example of one of the most famous pieces of paper money in the English series Ė a Newland £1 note, hand dated 24th January 1806.

This note may have appeared rather well used and brown to some of my fellow eBayers, but they either didnít appreciate the significance of the story or just didnít realise its rarity. Almost all the Newland and Hase notes on the market are not in their original condition, having been pressed or washed by unscrupulous dealers or stupid collectors who try and make money by improving a noteís appearance. This note had lain undisturbed inside a late 18th century book for approximately 200 years and was in its original untreated condition. To check out the story, I decided to look up Claxby House in Pevsnerís Lincolnshire and discovered that this house was built in the latter part of the 18th century. So it appears the note was probably used by a member of the first generation of the family as he or she sat reading a contemporary book and had nothing else with which to mark the place.

The unusual early 19th century bookmark found in the library of Claxby House, Market Rasen, Lincs.

Over 20 bids were placed on the eBay lot during the period of 9 days it was on the market. As the final hour passed, the price hit £2000 but, surprise, surprise, the sellerís reserve had not been met. He had let it be known that he had consulted an auction house on the value and said it had been estimated at ďfrom at least £3000Ē. So eBayers should have realised they were unlikely to get it for less than this, particularly as all auctioneers charge a premium of anything up to 20% on top of the hammer price. In fact I assumed £3000 was the reserve and knowing the note was worth nearly double that amount, thought I would be extremely lucky to get it for that price. I neednít have worried. I put a bid of £3351 on the lot 30 seconds before the close and ran out the winner for the reserve price of £3000! The next highest bidder was only £2561, so the note was obviously sold in the wrong market.

I immediately contacted the seller and detected disappointment that the note had not made more. So anxious to get my hands on it as soon as possible, I said I would meet his daughter with the cash in the car park of Lincoln Station the following morning. By this time my wife had actually got quite excited by the story which, bearing in mind her complete indifference to all things notaphilic, was in itself quite extraordinary. So when I said it was essential to move quickly she said she would come with me and we both dashed to the Bank early and withdrew 150 £20 notes from our account. We met at the appointed time and I was thrilled when for the first time I gently handled the note. It was in solid Fine condition with good body and no tears or ink wear. And it was only the second time I had been privileged to handle an untreated 19th century note in the Bank of England series. Since then one dealer has valued the note at between £5300 and £5500 and another one at up to £6000. So once again I have got a bargain on eBay but the note and its story are so special that I will not be parting with it anytime soon!

Laurence Pope
IBNS #7037
25. 06. 2008

Last updated 18/09/2008