Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50,000, donates it to “help young people”


An elderly Northern Irish woman who found one of the new special edition £5 notes has donated it to charity, saying that she wants the money to be used to “help young people”.

The special fivers, which all bear a tiny etching of Jane Austen by British engraver Graham Short, are so rare that each is worth an estimated £50,000. Only four were originally put into circulation in December.

Two of the four engraved notes had already been found when the Irish woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, discovered that she had the third.

She promptly sent it back to Short at the THH Gallery in Scotland, with a letter reading: “£5 note enclosed, I don’t need it at my time of life. Please use it to help young people.”

A statement on Short’s website reads: “The lady who found the note has surprised us all by sending it to the gallery and asking that it be used to help young people.

“Graham and the Gallery will be working closely together to do so.”

Read more: 33 random acts of kindness guaranteed to give you a boost

The statement added that Short and his colleagues were “currently contacting outlets connected to Children in Need to try and give this to a good cause so we can honour the request of the lucky woman who originally discovered the note.

“Stay tuned for more information as the story develops over the following days!”


Only one of the special engraved £5 notes, worth an estimated £50,000, is still in circulation.

Short – known as “the world’s smallest engraver” – is famous for once etching the Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin. He told the BBC that the selfless woman who found the note was adamant that she didn’t want to go public with her good deed.

“She said, ‘I don’t want my picture in the papers… If it sells for a lot of money it will be better if young children could benefit from it,’” he explained.

Read more: “Now is the time we need kindness most”: Romola Garai on standing up for refugees

Short’s special edition plastic fivers bear a tiny picture of Jane Austen on the transparent part of the note, each encircled with a different quotation from Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park.

The artist came up with the idea as a way of marking the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death, as well as celebrating the release of the new money.

Watch: Life advice from Jane Austen

Artist Tony Huggins-Haig, who launched the project alongside Short, said that around 5,000 people have contacted his gallery falsely claiming to have found one of the special fivers.

“It would be wondrous if someone finds it who is deserving, who is blown away by it, and who wants to do something worthwhile with it,” Huggins-Haig told the Telegraph.

“It’s been an incredible and humbling story thanks to Graham, who goes to incredible lengths to create artwork.

“It really is a Willy Wonka story, and one day all four stories will be told, of which the first three are incredible.”

There is now just one of the special engraved notes in circulation. Two have already been found – one in Wales and one in Scotland – by recipients who said that they intended to keep the notes rather than sell them.

The series number of the remaining note is AM32885554.

Images: Getty, iStock



This 90-year-old has written a list of tips for lonely people


The most generous countries in the world have been revealed


Clarins and Stylist want to invest £30,000 in YOUR charity project


Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Drinking alcohol can help with foreign language skills, study finds

Anyone for a dash of Dutch courage?

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

Muggles can attend the Harry Potter Yule Ball in the actual Great Hall

You even get your own wand!

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

Walking for just 17 minutes a day has a dramatic effect on your health

Want to prolong your life? A bit of gentle exercise is better than none at all

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

SATC writer admits the team argued over Carrie's unrealistic lifestyle

“I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

WhatConsentMeansToMe hashtag sparks vital conversation on Twitter

“No matter what I wear, no matter what you think – no means no”

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

The Netflix shows you’re most likely to devour in 24 hours

You, my friend, are a ‘binge racer’

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

There’s a psychological reason you’re in love with Starbucks’ red cups

It’s not just because Christmas is coming

by Gemma Crisp
18 Oct 2017

Have a wonderfully macabre Christmas with this anti-advent calendar

Bah humbug

by Megan Murray
18 Oct 2017