A rare banknote discovered by an Oxfam volunteer has sold for £140,000.
Paul Wyman was working in the Brentwood branch in Essex, when he spotted an unusual note in a box of donated items. The £100 Palestine pounds is one of less than ten known to exist and was issued to high ranking officials during the time of the British Mandate in Palestine in 1927.
The charity shop worker decided not to put it on the shelves and contacted an auction house where experts valued it at £30,000. However, he was stunned when it sold for a staggering £140,000 at Spink auction house in London.
He said: "I realised that I was holding something in my hands that was incredibly rare I couldn’t believe it when it went for £140,000." An unknown donor brought it into the shop in October 2020, and it was assessed at the auction house in February 2022.
The auction took place on April 28 and Paul watched the bidding online from his home. He added: "The auctioneers originally valued it at £30,000 and I was amazed at that already - never mind £140,000.
"Up until then I don't think I really believed it could be a real note because they are so incredibly rare." But bidders from all over the world, including the US and the Middle East, placed bids in the hopes of getting their hands on the note In the end it sold for £140,000 to go towards Oxfam's charitable work.
Paul said: "It’s brilliant to know I played a part in raising so much money for Oxfam’s work helping the world’s poorest people."
Elaine Fung, a banknote specialist for Spink, said: "Less than ten of these banknotes are known to exist. It would have been issued to a high ranking official at the time as a token of appreciation for their services.”
Lorna Fallon, retail director for Oxfam, said: “We are so grateful to Paul and the Brentwood shop team for spotting this banknote, not to mention the generous member of the public who donated it to us. We are delighted that the banknote has raised so much money for Oxfam’s work around the world, which includes helping people in East Africa who are at risk of famine, and assisting refugees from Ukraine.”
The rare banknote was issued during the British Mandate in Palestine in 1927, issued by the League of Nations in 1920. The auctioned banknote was £100 Palestine pounds, which was the currency at the time.
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