A collector who sold three new plastic 5 notes for 460 on the Ebay internet auction site says he will reinvest the money in his hobby.
Alan Scrase said finding the polymer fivers with consecutive AA01 serial numbers was “the luck of the draw”.
The 52-year-old struck the jackpot after visiting a bank branch shortly after a delivery of new fivers – on the day after the launch date.
He had failed to get any of collector value on the first day of issue.
“I did not get them on 13 September – the first day – but it was just by sheer chance that I went to the bank the next day and they had just got them in,” he said.
“You just go in your bank and ask for them. I got a few.”
New issues of bank notes, uncirculated and with low serial numbers in the first printing run are attractive to collectors. Extra value comes when there is something unusual about them, as is the case with the first plastic notes to be issued by the Bank of England.
A total of 440 million new 5 notes have been printed. About one million have AA01 serial numbers, but some are not in general circulation. The very lowest serial number notes are handed to the Queen.
The polymer note – which is much more durable than the old fiver – was delivered to banks over the course of a week.
After arriving at the bank just at the right time, Mr Scrase decided to put a set of three fivers with consecutive serial numbers on internet auction site Ebay.
After 31 bids were made, the set was sold for 456.
‘US notes are nicer’
“I am surprised how much they have gone for,” he told the BBC News website.
“Any collector wants the first issue but they seem to have gone up in value very quickly.”
Instead of spending the money on a weekend away or a trip to a fancy restaurant, Mr Scrase said he would spend the money on adding to his collection of old US banknotes.
The US versions were “a lot more colourful” and more interesting to look at, he said.
“It is a very addictive hobby,” he said. “And it gets expensive.”
“I spend a lot more money than I get back selling them, so this will subsidise my collection.”
Some auctioneers sound a note of caution to others hoping to cash in on the early issues of the new 5 note.
“There is always some excitement over new issues like this, truly it should be just over the low serial numbers (not consecutive ones) but these are often carefully released by the bank,” said Seth Freeman, of AH Baldwin and Sons.
“People get overly excited on platforms like Ebay and the prices are not justified.”
Auction host site Thesaleroom.com said that banknotes could be worth more if they were held onto for some time. It is auctioning a Bank of England 5 note dating from 1979, with an estimated price of 7,000.
The new fiver, which features the image of Sir Winston Churchill, is not the first plastic banknote to be seen in the UK. They have previously been in circulation in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Bank of England has already said that the new 10 note, featuring Jane Austen, released next year, and the new 20 note to be issued by 2020 featuring artist JMW Turner, will also be made of plastic.
The polymer notes are expected to last an average of five years – compared to the current note’s two years.
Read more: www.bbc.co.uk