An extremely rare £5 note, printed more than 120 years ago, is expected to fetch as much as £16,000 when it goes under the hammer at auction.

The currency, 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.

Should the bank note reach its highest estimate at auction, it will sell for more than 3,000 times its face value.

Bournemouth Echo: 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)

Andrew Pattison, head of the banknote department at Noonans Auctioneers, said he was thrilled that the precious paper money was going under the hammer.

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.”

The auction, set to be held on October 12, will include several other sought-after Bank of England notes.

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