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Last Updated:  Sunday, 6 April, 2003, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
White 'fiver' worth a fortune
White banknote
White banknotes like this were regularly issued in Newcastle
A fiver is set to make someone up to 10,000.

The white 5 note was issued in 1849 by the Bank of England's Newcastle branch.

The rare banknote is one of a cache of regional notes to be sold by auctioneers Bonhams in London on 15 April on behalf of un-named owner.

In the mid-19th century, the Bank of England established 13 branches to supply financial centres which grew rapidly with the increase in trade and industry.

The Newcastle branch opened in April 1828 and notes were issued from there until the outbreak World War II.

Bonhams' banknote specialist Michael O'Grady said: "No other group of early branch notes like this has ever been sold at auction before.

"This is the earliest Bank of England Newcastle note ever to have been offered for sale.

"The note remains clean and quite crisp, but as was common practise at the time for paper money sent through the post, the note has been split down the centre and would have been rejoined at the bank on presentation of the two halves."

The fiver was first issued in 1793 in the wake of a commercial crisis following the outbreak of war with France.

The lowest denomination of banknote at the time was 10.

It was then, as now, the lowest denomination that the Bank of England issued, but it was only originally intended as a temporary measure.

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