Take note: A rare brown Bermuda five pound note dating from 1941 is expected to raise as much as $23,300 when it goes under the hammer at a London auction house next month.
Take note: A rare brown Bermuda five pound note dating from 1941 is expected to raise as much as $23,300 when it goes under the hammer at a London auction house next month.

Former Premier David Saul is to auction off a massive collection of rare Bermuda banknotes – and donate the proceeds to charity.

The collection – expected to raise at least $200,000 – is to go under the hammer at prestigious London auction house Spinks next month.

One note alone – a rare 1941 brown GBP5 note – is expected to raise as much as $23,300 on its own.

Dr Saul amassed the collection, which also includes rare notes from the Merchants Bank of Halifax in Canada, over 40 years.

The one-time Minister of Finance said: “It’s a nice bit of foreign currency for our balance of payments – and I imagine most of it will got to charities in Bermuda and elsewhere.”

He added: “Like most things, hitting 74, I’ve done it, I built the collection and I’m interested in other things as I grow older.”

And Dr Saul – who is planning to attend the auction on Friday, October 4 – said he was going to enjoy watching specialist collectors who he outbid for some of his collection in the past, competing with each other for the notes.

The glossy brochure for the auction features high quality images of the notes, many of them with very low serial numbers and most are uncirculated and in perfect condition. But Dr Saul said his favourites included the 1941 brown GBP5 note – which was very quickly pulled and shredded after people realised it was easily confused with the also-brown five shilling note.

The brown GBP5 note was eventually replaced with a yellow note – still referred to as “a canary” by Bermudians old enough to remember them.

And he said the first three Bermuda banknotes issued in 1952 bearing the image of Queen Elizabeth II were also favourites.

The collection includes a 00001 issue orange and green GBP5 note, expected to go for up to $13,200, according to expert valuation.

And the GBP1 note from the same series, with the same low number, is expected to net as much as $7,800.

Dr Saul said, however, that much of his collection was bought from overseas – because tourists and former service personnel based on the island often took notes home with them as souvenirs.

He added: “Bermudians don’t seem to value these things as much. But there are not many people in the currency note business. I’ve been collecting for 40 years and slowly built up the collection.”

Dr Saul is also a noted stamp collector – with some of his stamps, like early Perot postal stamps from the original post office on Queen Street in Hamilton, much sought after by wealthy collectors.