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Shetland Museum acquires rare £5 proof from 1820s


Owen Linzmayer
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The Shetland Museum in Lerwick (www.shetland-museum.org.uk) recently purchased the only known 5-pound note issued by the Shetland Bank. The bank was formed in 1822 by Lerwick businessmen James Hay and Charles Ogilvy. It issued notes until 1828, and went bankrupt in 1842, causing long-term social and economic effects across Shetland. According to a Bonham’s spokesman, the museum paid £2,585 for the banknote which had come up for sale from a private collection at the auctioneers in London.

 

Museum curator Tommy Watt said, “This is a once in a lifetime acquisition; the proverbial hen’s teeth. I had been hoping that a note from the Shetland Bank would turn up in my curatorial career. There are several £1 notes in existence, including one stuck in an album in the archives, but to my knowledge no one has heard of or even seen a £5 note, so this could be the only one in existence. Its also interesting that it’s a proof note, so maybe never even went into circulation.”

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