Forgive us for our cynicism. Having spent the latter part of the 90s checking Queen Elizabeth’s neckwear (or lack of) on £2 coins, we’re never sure about rare currency rumours.
But turns out some of the new £5 notes could legitimately be worth a hell of a lot more thanks to a hidden doodle.
An artist known for his miniature engravings has added a tiny portrait of Jane Austen to four notes and will be popping them back into circulation – and as his last work sold for £100,000, many believe a note with the hidden artwork could be worth £20,000 or even £50,000.
As well as being lucky enough to receive one of the notes, Willy Wonka golden ticket-style, you’ll have to be pretty eagle-eyed to spot Graham Short’s engraving next to Big Ben – while it’s just about visible to the naked eye, a microscope is needed to truly see what it is.
Blatantly flouting the Currency & Banknotes Act of 1928, Short, 70, has also engraved a different quote from Austen’s books on each note and chose the novelist to mark the 200th anniversary of her death next year.
He has already spent one of the notes in Kelso, Scotland, and is planning to spend the other three throughout the rest of the UK this week.
Previous work has included engraving the Lord’s Prayer onto the head of a pin and a portrait of the Queen in the eye of a needle, and the artist tries to keep his working conditions as perfectly still as possible, working late at night, using Botox injections to ensure his eyes don’t twitch, and engraving between heartbeats.
The notes, introduced in September, have come in for some criticism, with many disliking the plastic feel and others upset about the traces of animal product used in the making.
It’s the first denomination to change to the new polymer notes, with £10 and £20 following suit in summer 2017 and by 2020 respectively. The old paper fivers can be spent until May 2017, after which they will cease to be legal tender.
Images: Rex Features / Main image: iStock