The bakery owner who gave away a £5 note worth £50,000

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A baker says he is devastated after letting a new style £5 note, worth £50,000, slip through his fingers. Alan Malone, head baker at Granny Jean’s in Kelso, in the Scottish borders, realised he has given away a note with Jane Austen’s face as change.

The note has a picture of Austen, created by micro-engraver Graham Short, 70, turning it into a coveted artwork which is estimated to be worth £50,000. However, Mr Malone didn’t realise that the note was in his till at one point and says it would have been handed out as part of change within hours at most.

The fiver was spent in the shop by gallery owner Tony Huggins-Haig, who alerted the bakery a couple of days later. But, by then, the note was long gone.

Mr Short decided to create the mini artworks to commemorate Austen as 2017 will mark the 200th anniversary of death. There are only four of the notes in circulation and they are difficult to spot as they can only be seen in certain lights. The image is on the transparent piece of plastic on the £5 note.


The baker said he was “absolutely gutted” that he had the note and let it go. He said that given that he has just moved house, he could do with some extra money. Since the announcement that the priced note had been spent in the shop, he said hordes of people had been coming in, paying for an item with a tenner in a bid to get the £5 back in their change. But he believes it left the shop in someone’s change on the morning it was handed over.

Gallery owner Mr Huggins-Haig and Mr Short came up with the idea to create what is something of a “Willy Wonka” idea, like the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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