Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 19:11 UK

Internet buyers snap up currency

Lewes pound
The Lewes Pound shows the South Downs and will be reviewed next year

Dozens of pound notes issued in an East Sussex town to encourage shoppers to support the local economy have been sold on an internet auction site.

The Lewes Pound, which was launched last week, has been selling as souvenirs for up to 24.99.

According to the record of sales shown on the site, one UK-based buyer spent up to 173 on 10 individual 1 notes on Monday alone.

Sellers have described the notes as "A little bit of English history".

One added: "Nobody is using them in the shops. First issue ones like this will be unobtainable very soon."

The Lewes Pound works like a voucher, with one Lewes pound note worth the same as a pound sterling. Up to 10,000 notes have been printed.

Lewes Pound constipation

The currency is accepted in more than 70 participating stores and can be bought in four outlets in the town.

However, traders have reported that people are not using the new currency as much as expected.

Susan May, of May's General Store, said: "Some people are putting them online, I believe, and I think people are saving them for Christmas presents and just generally holding tight.

"It's a bit like Lewes Pound constipation."

Organisers of the scheme, Transition Town Lewes (TTL), are hailing it as a success, however, and are planning to print thousands of extra notes.

"Since the launch we have had 20 traders wanting to come on board, ranging from the football club to a pub to a decorator and a photographer," said co-founder Adrienne Campbell.

"It has been wonderful, with lots of people taking it up."

The town had its own currency between 1789 and 1895.

The Lewes Pound was drawn up by TTL and is made up of local residents whose aim is to campaign for a more self-sufficient community.

Guardian Unlimited Rebellious town of Tom Paine and bonfire revels prints own banknotes - 1 hr ago
Channel 4 News Town launches its own currency - 14 hrs ago
The Sun EAST SUSSEX town rolls out its own legal tender to boost the local economy - 16 hrs ago
Telegraph Town launches its own currency as rival to the pound - 24 hrs ago
Wakefield Express Historic town launches its own local Lewes Pound - 26 hrs ago

Lewes launches its own currency
09 Sep 08 |  Sussex
Lewes plans its own local currency
12 May 08 |  Working Lunch

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