Rare Hong Kong bank note set to sell for up to £50,000 at auction

A five dollar bank note from Hong Kong signed by a Galloway man is set to go under the hammer.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 12:47 pm

The recently discovered bill is likely to exceed its estimate of between £30,000 and £50,000.

The ‘Hong Kong 1860’ five dollar banknote was the earliest known fully issued banknote of any denomination for the country.

And it carries the signatures of two Scots including John McDouall from Stranraer.

The ‘Hong Kong 1860’ Five Dollar Banknote signed by two Scots (Pic: Jan Stames/Dix Noonan Webb)

Mr McDouall made his way to the newly founded territory aged just 20, and rose through the ranks.

At the time of his death, at the age of just 53, he had risen to the position of manager of the entire Oriental Bank Corporation, at the time the most successful bank in the region.

He was killed in a carriage accident in 1873 and buried in a Hong Kong cemetery.

His signature sits opposite that of James Webster, who was born in Fife.

The note going to auction is dated June 1, 1860, and has the serial number 20465.

The only other issued notes from the Oriental Bank Corporation to have survived date from 1866 and 1879 .

Andrew Pattison, head of banknote department at Dix Noonan Webb - the company putting it up for auction - said: “$5 was a lot of money in Hong Kong in 1860 so for someone to have this note and not redeem it is quite unusual.

"They probably brought it back here and forgot about it!”

The rare bank note will go under the hammer in an auction of British, Irish and world bank notes in London on August 26.