UK

Four Jane Austen Portrait £5 Notes Are Worth Between £20,000 And £50,000 Each

Get checking.

07/12/2016 15:32 GMT

People are being urged to check their pockets for special edition £5 notes with a tiny engraved portrait of Jane Austen on it, as they could be worth £50,000 each.  

Specialist micro-engraver Graham Short has already begun spending the notes and is encouraging people to check their wallets to see if they are one of the lucky recipients of a Willy Wonka-style ‘golden ticket’.

The estimated value of the four notes varies from between £20,000 to £50,000.

Short sold his engraving of the Queen on a pinhead for £100,000.

The artist decided to commemorate Austen on the notes as next year marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

The unique engravings can only be seen in certain lights with the author’s picture positioned on the transparent part of the plastic note next to the images of Winston Churchill and Big Ben.

The notes also have quotes from the writer’s work. A microscope is needed to see the images clearly.

Alastair Grant/AP
Four lucky people could be carrying around new £5 notes that are worth thousands of pounds

The four notes have the serial numbers AM32 885551, AM32 885552, AM32 885553 and AM32 885554.

Anyone in possession of one of the special notes has been advised to contact the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery in Kelso, which launched the project.

Huggins-Haig told the BBC: “All of Graham’s work has an insurance valuation of about £50,000 at the moment. It’s a reasonable estimate.

“It is very much the Willy Wonka golden ticket,” Huggins-Haig added.

Two of the notes are believed to have already been spent - one in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland. 

The remaining two will be spent in the Midlands and South Wales on Thursday, the Mirror reported.

The new polymer notes hit the headlines last week after it was revealed the currency contains animal fat, sparking anger from vegans, vegetarians and religious groups.