Pam West British Notes

Back to News & Info

Articles Home Page
Picture Library
the million pound note


Over the years several copies of 'The Million Pound Note', used in the film of the same   
name, have appeared on the open market. Notes of this denomination were never issued
for general circulation. Treasury Certificates £50,000 to £100,000,000 and Bank of England
£1,000,000 to £10,000,000 banknotes used for internal accounting only. 
The top value banknote issued by the Bank of England was one thousand pounds (£1000).


         Picture courtesy of the Daily Mail.


The 1953 comedy  The Million Pound Note  was based on a Mark Twain short story, about an

impoverished American sailor,  Henry Adams,  who gets caught up in an unusual wager between

two wealthy, eccentric brothers, Oliver (Ronald Squire) and Roderick Montpelier (Wilfrid Hyde-White).

They persuade a bank to issue a million pound note which they present to Adams in an envelope  

(telling him only that it contains money).  Oliver believes the mere existence of the note will enable

the possessor to obtain whatever he needs, while Roderick contends that it would actually have to

be spent for it to be of be of any use.  Ultimately, the money proves more troublesome than it's worth,

when it almost costs Adams his dignity and the woman he loves, Portia Lansdowne (Jane

Griffiths).  The film is a rather turgid affair, centering on a single gag, strung out for ninety minutes -

a pauper has no friends, whereas a millionaire is surrounded by sycophancy and limitless credit. 

Markets deal in confidence rather than cash.  Using the retail price index (RPI), which shows the 

cost of goods and services purchased by a typical household from one period to another, the

equivalent of a million pounds in 1903 would be £73.8 million pounds today.
Written by Paul Donnely courtesy of The Daily Mail 



         Actual One Million Pound Note used by Gregory Peck in the film.


       Facsmile copies have been produced on thick creamy paper in two versions.

       The first  in a limited edition of 1000. 

       The second a limited edition of 2500 with numbered certificate.                        


Genuine notes that have come up in Auction 

Sotheby's       1988          Lot  1051   
Sotheby's       1991          Lot  331    
London Coin      2007          Lot  115    
Lot Description :-
An amusing copy of  theatrical quality loosely based on a traditional  Bank of                                        
England 'White Note' design,with fictitious 'face value' of  £1,000,000 , bearing
a fictitious date  20 June 1903 and the facsimile signature 'S.K.Howard' ,
prepared for use as the principal 'prop'  in the film  'The Million Pound Note',
measuring 202mm x 265 mm.  Nevertheless the Bank of England officials took
a close interest in the prop. In view of its similarity to official English banknotes
and to avoid any possible misunderstanding!                     




       Promotional note from Walt Disney's The Happiest Millionaire 1967.

       Note depicting Fred MacMurray, Greer Garson and Tommy Steele




   Specimen Bank of England Million pound note c.1990, used internally  Copyright Bank of England



         Treasury Certificate for one million Pounds 1948




        Screaming Lord Sutch one million pound note of 1991, from his book



        Modern Spoof  £1,000,000  banknote



        Welsh one million pound note by Haigh Williams


Copyright 2024 Pam West British NotesOur use of cookies