Rare Sunderland banknotes and Downton-style uniforms up for auction

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TWO banknotes from a short-lived Sunderland bank that traded during the Napoleonic Wars are among some of the more unusual items exciting collectors ahead of the Anderson & Garland Spring Fine Arts & Antiques Sale in Newcastle.

The notes were issued by the Sunderland and Wearmouth Bank and are particularly rare because the bank only operated from 1805 until 1816, so it produced far fewer notes than many of its contemporaries.

A £1 note dated 3rd November 1815, no. P3681, and a £5 dated 2nd May 1814, no. D3191, will be going under the hammer during the three-day sale from March 24-26. Both notes are signed by John Cooke, who co-founded Sunderland and Wearmouth bank with Thomas Cooke.

The notes are being sold on behalf of Alan Anderson from Tyneside, who originally bought them at Tynemouth Market around 10 years ago.

He said: “I like going around the markets and fairs and I was really struck by the date. I couldn’t believe they were nearly 200 years old and in such good condition.

“I’m retired now and I thought I’d research them. I found out a £1 note from this bank had sold for more than £100.

“I originally displayed them but they’ve just been in the loft in the frame, so I thought I would sell them.”

The notes, which are being sold as one lot, have an estimated price of £60-£100, and are expected to cause a flurry of interest among collectors, especially those with an interest in the North East.

Anderson & Garland auctioneer, Fred Wyrley-Birch, said: “The Sunderland and Wearmouth Bank only traded for a short period before it went bust, in common with a number of other banks up and down the country in that period. A lot of people lost a lot of money.

“It’s rare to have two notes of different denominations from the same bank. The £5 is particularly rare; £5 was a lot of money back then and if you had a £5 note you would have kept it safe.”

The notes are among some of the more intriguing items in the sale, which also includes a set of three footman’s liveries dating to the early part of the 20th Century.

The uniforms came from a Milburn estate and include three blue jackets with red collars, cuffs and pockets, aiguillettes and brass buttons, plus three red felt and gold braided waistcoats, and three pairs of brown plush breeches. The set also features three capes, three brass-buttoned great coats and three top hats. They come with a fitted case and larger tin trunk from Jones Brothers & Co, Wolverhampton.

Inside, there also a footman’s white tie jacket with brass buttons; and six red and white striped waistcoats, plus paperwork from B Pelvin, Tailor, 60 Grey Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, dated 1929 and 1936. The set has an estimate of £500 to £800.

Mr Wyrley-Birch said: “They’re straight out of Downton Abbey, only with more flare.

“This is the sort of clothing a footman would have had to wear in a grand house of note, where they would all have been matching.

“They come complete with notes from a butler - just like Carson - checking them off after a trip away, as well as their travelling trunks. They have been removed from a local country house and are in the same condition as the day they were put away.”

Finally, one of the more quirky items in the auction, which is likely to be of interest to agricultural collectors, is a brown leather bull collar. Inscribed ‘Champion 1867’, the collar would have been presented to the top bull at a show or fair. It has an estimated value of £100-£200.

For more information, please visit www.andersonandgarland.com.