An ‘extremely rare’ £5 not has been sold for a whopping £32,000, more than 6,000 times its original face value.

The sought-after note, which is dated July 12, 1900, was originally signed by Horace G. Bowen, the chief cashier at the Bank of England from 1893 to 1902.

It was first issued at the bank’s Leeds branch and remains just one of a few from its era that are still held in private hands.

The old money was expected to fetch around £16,000 when it went up for auction at Noonans Auctioneers, in Mayfair, London.

Bury Times: The extremely rare £5 note is expected to fetch as much as £16,000 at auctionThe extremely rare £5 note is expected to fetch as much as £16,000 at auction (Image: SWNS)

But remarkably, its mystery seller bagged twice this initial estimate when the hammer finally fell.

Andrew Pattison, head of the banknote department at Noonans, previously said the rare currency was extremely desirable.

He said: “This is a great note.

“Very few Bowen notes are in private hands, especially from this exceptionally rare Leeds branch.

“The York hand stamp shows part of the journey of the note, issued in Leeds and paid into a bank at some point in York.”

Andrew said the note was previously bought by a collector ten years ago after it was put up for sale by British businessman and philanthropist Sir David Kirch.

And he thought it might reach higher than its 12,000-£16,000 estimate following the sale of another extremely rare note that went for £24,000 earlier this year.

Andrew said: “This note was sold by Sir David Kirch as part of his collection a decade ago when it was sold to the current owner, who is a major collector of notes from all over the United Kingdom.”

“This is not the first Leeds note that Noonans has sold. An extremely rare £500 note dated 1936 was sold for a hammer price of £24,000 in March of this year.”

During the auction today, a rare £5 note dated July 28, 1862, also beat its £15,000 top estimate after it sold for £20,000.

It was signed by Matthew Marshall, who was chief cashier of the Bank of England between 1835 and 1864.

While another rare £50 note, also signed by Matthew Marshall and dated October 6 1845, sold for £26,000 after originally being valued between £15,000 and £20,000.

Andrew added: "Bidding was extremely fierce but the notes went to two different buyers, both of whom are advanced collectors of English banknotes.

"There were multiple bidders on each note right to the top, which just shows that interest in rare and unique collectable banknotes is extremely strong.”

What makes a coin valuable?

While the idea of finding a £5 note worth £16,000 may be unrealistic, everyone is being encouraged to check their change for more common 50p coins which could sell for hundreds of pounds.

The 50 pence piece has become the most valued and collected coin in the UK, with many collectable designs appearing on its heptagonal canvas.

Its 27.5mm diameter makes it the largest of any British coin, and allows space for decorative pictures. It has often been used to celebrate big events over the past 50 years of British history.

The rarest coins tend to be of the greatest value, with the mintage (number of coins with each design made) being the fundamental attraction for collectors.

Along with the design, other aspects of the coin which increase value are the condition of the coin and whether it has an error in its design.

The way in which it is sold can also determine the coin’s value - while some coin collectors will bid vast amounts of money on eBay or at auction, others opt for more robust valuations by selling via a coin dealer.

Royal Mint’s 10 most valuable 50p coins

Here is a list of the top 10 most valuable coins, when they were made and how many were minted:

  1. Olympic Aquatics (2011), unknown
  2. Kew Gardens (2009), 210,000
  3. Olympic Wrestling (2011), 1,129,500
  4. Olympic Football (2011), 1,161,500
  5. Olympic Judo (2011), 1,161,500
  6. Olympic Triathlon (2011), 1,163,500
  7. Peter Rabbit (2018), 1,400,000
  8. Flopsy Bunny (2018), 1,400,000
  9. Olympic Tennis (2011), 1,454,000
  10. Olympic Goalball (2011), 1,615,500