Rare Palestine banknote found by Oxfam volunteer

Note was issued during British Mandate in 1927

The rare Palestine banknote found by Oxfam volunteer Paul Wyman. Photo: Oxfam
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A rare Palestine bank note — one of about 10 in existence — has been found among donations given to an Oxfam charity shop in the UK.

The £100 Palestine note sold for £140,000 ($174,000) at auction — four times its reserve, as collectors pumped up the price.

Elaine Fung, a banknote Specialist for Spink, said people from all over the world, including the US and the Middle East, bid on the note.

“Less than 10 of these banknotes are known to exist and this is the most we have ever auctioned a banknote from Palestine for,” Ms Fung said.

“It would have been issued to a high-ranking official at the time as a token of appreciation for their services.”

The banknote was issued during the British Mandate in Palestine in 1927.

The note would have been issued to a high-ranking official. Photo: Oxfam

Oxfam volunteer Paul Wyman found the note as he was going through new donations at a shop in Brentwood, Essex. He said something about the note caught his eye.

He decided to delve into the history of the note and soon realised that it could be valuable.

“I realised that I was holding something in my hands that was incredibly rare,” Mr Wyman said.

The manager of the Oxfam Brentwood shop contacted Spink auction house, which confirmed the note was genuine and agreed to auction it.

Oxfam volunteer Paul Wyman 'couldn’t believe it' when the bill sold for £140,000. Photo: Oxfam

“I couldn’t believe it when it went for £140,000. It’s brilliant to know I played a part in raising so much money for Oxfam’s work helping the world’s poorest,” said Mr Wyman, who has volunteered in the Brentwood shop for nearly four years.

The note was given to the store by an unknown donor in October 2020 and it was evaluated at an auction house in February 2022.

Lorna Fallon, retail director for Oxfam, said: “We are so grateful to Paul and the Brentwood shop team for spotting this banknote, not to mention the generous member of the public who donated it to us.

“We are delighted that the banknote has raised so much money for Oxfam’s work around the world, which includes helping people in East Africa who are at risk of famine and assisting refugees from Ukraine.”

Updated: May 20, 2022, 6:35 PM