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Bermuda banknote first to feature portrait of Queen to be auctioned in London

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A rare Bermuda five-shilling banknote featuring a portrait of the Queen. (Photograph from the Daily Mail)

A Bermuda banknote believed to be the first bill in the world to feature a portrait of the Queen is expected to fetch £500 when it goes up for auction today.

The five-shilling note was printed in October 1952, eight months after the Queen ascended to the throne following the death of her father, George VI, in February that year.

According to a report in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, it is unclear why Bermuda was the first jurisdiction to issue a banknote featuring the new monarch.

The article adds: “However, the notes were virtually identical to those from George VI's reign, with her portrait simply replacing that of her father — and facing the other way, a British coinage tradition.

A rare Bermuda five-shilling banknote featuring a portrait of the Queen. (Photograph from the Daily Mail)

“Five shillings, which is the equivalent of 25p, is worth about £5 in today's money, according to the Bank of England.”

The Bermuda bill is one of 500 historic banknotes, all featuring a portrait of the Queen, that are set to go under the hammer at Noonan’s Auctioneers in Mayfair, Central London.

Thomasina Smith, an expert at the auction house, told the Daily Mail: “We are delighted to be holding this sale to coincide with the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“No other monarch has featured on such a wide range of notes from such a huge range of countries.

“Not only do they depict her through all 70 years of her reign, but stylistically they are wonderful works of art, showing the progression and history of the banknote.

“The sale will feature banknotes from all corners of the Commonwealth and there will be examples from every country on which the portrait of the Queen has appeared.”

The auction features banknotes from other overseas territories that are expected to fetch thousands of pounds.

A ten-shilling note issued by the Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland — now known as Zimbabwe and Malawi — dated May 27, 1957, is expected to sell for about £700.

A $100 note from Belize from the 1980s is estimated to sell for £1,800, while an Australian $4 note from the 1990s is thought to be worth about £1,000.

A $5 note from the British Caribbean Territories is expected to sell for more than £1,000.

Last year a collection of Bermuda notes sold for more than $7,000 at an auction in the United States.

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Published May 31, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated May 31, 2022 at 7:55 am)

Bermuda banknote first to feature portrait of Queen to be auctioned in London

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