A rare black and white Sunderland five pound note, issued two hundred years ago when the city printed its own money, is set to be auctioned next month.
The note, which could turn out to be Sunderland’s most valuable fiver and fetch at least £120, is emblazoned with the words ‘Wear Bank Sunderland’ and was issued by that ill-fated bank in January 1815, shortly before it went bust later that year.
At the top of the note is an engraving of what looks like the recently-constructed Wearmouth Bridge, which was built in 1796, nineteen years before the five pound note was issued.
The note is signed in the bottom right hand corner by John Goodchild, one of the bank’s partners.
The 1815 Wear Bank fiver is expected to sell for between £120 and £180 at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, on Tuesday, October 4.
According to auctioneers, the note is in "pleasing, good very fine" condition and it is "scarce".
The Wear Bank was founded in 1800 just five years before the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Britain’s greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson.
The bank was set up and run by four enterprising Wearside businessmen named Goodchild, Jackson, Goodchild and Heurtley. The Goodchild family was involved in the running of the bank for the entire fifteen years of the bank’s existence.
Barnaby Faull, head of the banknotes department at Spink, said: "All towns and cities in England used to issue their own banknotes. Merchants would get together and start up their own banks, but their notes, which were like IOUs, could only be used locally, so when provincial banks like the Wear Bank went bust, their notes became completely worthless."