Rare £5 note expected to fetch up to £450 at auction

A Victorian Sudbury Bank �5 is going for auction with an estimated price of around �400.
A Victorian Sudbury Bank �5 is going for auction with an estimated price of around �400.

A rare red and white Sudbury five pound note – produced in the late 1800s when Sudbury printed its own money – is set to go under the hammer.

The valuable Victorian note is emblazoned with the words ‘Sudbury Bank’ and features an image of the Corn Exchange, which now houses the town’s library.

The note is not dated because it was never issued, but the names of Sudbury Bank’s partners – Gurneys, Alexanders, Birkbeck, Barclay, Buxton and Kerrison – listed in the bottom right hand corner, confirm that the note was produced sometime between 1890 and 1896.

It was during this period –the final six years of Sudbury Bank’s existence – that these men were running the bank.

Barnaby Faull, head of the banknotes department at London auctioneers Spink, said: “All towns and cities in England used to issue their own banknotes.

“Merchants would get together and set up their own banks. But their notes – which were like IOUs – could only be used locally, so, when many of these provincial banks went bust, their notes became completely worthless.”

While this was the case for many provincial banks in the 19th century, Sudbury Bank survived and flourished for 16 years.

The bank was founded in 1880 and was in business until 1896 when it was taken over by Barclay & Co Ltd, which, in 1917, became Barclays Bank Ltd.

The Sudbury Bank five pound note is described by auctioneers Spink as “rare” and, because it was never issued, it is in “extremely fine” condition.

It is expected to sell for between £350 and £450 at an auction in Spink in London on Wednesday.

The Corn Exchange, which was built in 1842, is set to celebrate its 175th anniversary this year.