That's rich: old Sunderland five pound note goes for £456

The Wear Bank five pound note
The Wear Bank five pound note

A rare black and white Sunderland five pound note,issued two hundred years ago when Sunderland printed its own money, has sold for £456 at an auction in London.

The price makes it one of Wearside’s most valuable fivers having sold for more than double the sum it had been expected to fetch.

The note is emblazoned with the words ‘Wear Bank Sunderland’ and was issued by that short-lived, ill-fated bank in January 1815, shortly before the bank went bust later that year.

The note also features an image of what looks like the recently-constructed Wearmouth Bridge,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 who lived in Pallion.

The Wear Bank was founded in 1800 by four enterprising Wearside businessmen named Goodchild, Jackson, Goodchild and Heurtley.

The Goodchild family was involved in the running of the bank throughout its entire fifteen year existence.

The Wear Bank was one of several privately-owned banks in Sunderland in the early 1800s. Other banks included the Sunderland Bank, founded in 1780, but which ceased trading in 1803 and the Shields & Sunderland Bank, founded in 1801, but which went bust in 1816.

Another Sunderland Bank was founded in 1829 and then taken over in 1836 by the Newcastle Shields and Sunderland Union Joint Stock Bank.

The Wear Bank five pound note was expected to fetch between £120 and £180 at the auction at Spink, in Bloomsbury, London.

Its condition was described as 'pleasing, good very fine' and being 'scarce'.

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."