Pam West British Notes

Back to News & Info

Articles Home Page

Odd Banknote Stories Part One
Odd Banknote Stories Part Two
Letters to Pam
odd banknote stories part one

                            Odd Banknote Stories


        Skit note for ten kisses a spoof of a 1914 Bradbury note. Read text on note


The £20 Bank of Scotland notes of 1969 signed Lord Polwarth and J. Letham has a staggered
security thread, (dots & dashes) that in Morse code spell the letters B O S (Bank of Scotland). Pick 110A 


When buying Scottish notes you may be told the note is Scottish Unc (uncirculated). In reality it is EF
(extremely Fine) with two folds. The explanation is up till the late 1990's all Scottish tills had small
wooden drawers. All notes were folded in three and placed in the drawer compartments before issue.  



In order to prevent banknotes being printed on the wrong watermarked paper, Portals created
a simple solution.  As the sheet of paper was moulded, a small notch was formed on the right
hand edge, top corner for the £5 note, at a specific point for each denomination.  This ensured
the banknotes were printed on the correct watermarked paper.  The paper was made up to create
a pair of notes,thus, the left hand note has a cut /straight right hand edge and three deckled edges,
a top, bottom and left.  The right hand note has a cut/straight left hand edge and three deckled edges,
top, bottom and right - the right hand with the relevant notch for the denomination.

The right hand edges of the notes shown below in order of denomination: £5, £10, £20, £50, £100.
The notches appear on the right hand edge only, which is always deckled. £5 note notches are in 
the form of the top right corner removed.
For further reading :-  Promises to Pay  page 98.


This method also utilised on the £200, £500 and £1000 notes.
The £200 notch is between the £20 and £50 notch.
The £500 notch is between the £10 and £20 notch.
The £1000 notch is between the £5 and £10 notch.


Prisoner of War  

Issued by the War Office, Second World War prisoners interned in Britain could earn money paid
in the form of banknotes, with the W^D logo. Values issued include 3d, 6d, 1s, 2s 6d, 5s & 10s.
There were over two hundred camps spread all over Britain, each identified by its own number.




       2s 6d War Office banknote issued to prisoners of war 

There were also camps all over the Empire, many issuing their own notes. 



         Prisoner of War camp notes from Bhopal India


         Boer War Prisoner of War camp money from Ragama Ceylon first issue


         Second issue. The camp was situated in the Ice & Cold Storage Company depot


          Cancelled Remainder from Diyatalawa


Military Money

The War Office printed six issues during the Second World War. Some were never issued,

others were overprinted for use in Japan. Two auction lots with many thousands of notes

were put on the market by the Ministry of Defence. Holes were two drilled in some of the notes 

to distinguish them from issued notes.



         First Issue


        First Issue overprinted for use in Japan

NAAFI = Navy Army Air Force Institute. Provided support for British troops at home and abroad


         First Issue, series text not featured on the notes


        Second Issue series text featured on the notes, under the word SIXPENCE


         Third issue De la Rue Specimen


        Forth issue (series) held in reserve not issued to troops


The Siege of Mafeking forced the issue of  paper money for both sides.  Baden-Powell

came back a hero but was vilified for not putting an image of the Queen on the notes.


          1s, 2s, & 3s notes were issued 


       There are two varieties of the 10s note, one has the 'd' missing in Commanding


Rogue Engravers

The most famous rogue engraver worked on the 50 rupees note of the Seychelles. After the notes
were printed it was noticed that when turned sideways the palm leaves spelled the word SEX
But what had remained unseen for many years was the word SCUM on the 10 rupees banknote.


         SEX note, look to the right of the Queens head


         SCUM note, look under the rear flipper of the turtle


Grading anomalies seen in auction catalogues:-
EF for age    ie Fine
UNC with central crease    ie EF
Earlier large Scottish notes often have two folds approximately a third in (EF), referred to
as Scottish Unc but are in fact EF.  All Scottish banks used small draws to store their notes.
Folding the notes to get them in the narrow draws. 


Bank of England

The 2s 6d & 5s fractional notes of 1941 were sent for destruction in the late 1940s. The feared
shortage of silver coin had passed. The notes were loaded into the pulping vat and the lid clamped
shut. At this stage the security men left. The operator supposedly opened the lid and pocketed
some notes stuck in the lids mechanism. Ten or so notes of each value survived for collectors this

way or they would have been consigned to history.


           2s 6d & 5s fractional notes



Secret Marks

Most banknotes have incorporated in their design secret marks. This allows the issuing bank to detect

forgeries more easily. Promises to Pay page 234 shows the White Note 'Private Marks'.

The secret marks may just consist of missing lines in the engine turning.


        Proof of Fifth issue 5s military note with secret marks encircled.


Plate Marks


        Small 'B' plate mark set in design. Front of Scottish British Linen £5, 'enlarged'  


      Small 'F' plate mark set in border. Back of Scottish British Linen £5, 'enlarged' 

The cotton fibres you see in the paper are added as a security device.


Plate Marks are also found on £1, £10, £20 and £100 British Linen banknotes,

many other Scottishbanknotes Irish notes and 1940's Isle of Man notes.

Waterlow & Sons printers were the main user of these markings. 


                                                                       Also See Part Two





Copyright 2024 Pam West British NotesOur use of cookies