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Rare Ipswich banknotes on display at Museum

Published30th July 2013

Two banknotes issued by private banks in Ipswich around 200 years ago are on display at the Museum in High Street after being bought by the Borough Council.

The first is a £1 note issued by Ralph Holden, Sanders & Co dated 10th January 1807. This note was the subject of a court case at the Old Bailey in London in July of that year when it was alleged it was a forgery, as Ralph Holden did not actually exist. Remarkably, the two defendants were found not guilty as the banknote was "issued in the ordinary course of trade".

The other is a very rare unused £10 note of Bacon, Cobbold, Rodwell, Dunningham and Cobbold dated 1820. This is of particular interest because of its association with the Cobbold family, bankers and brewers of Ipswich.

The Council acquired these banknotes at an auction at Spink in London using money from a bequest.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor David Ellesmere, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to save these remarkable banknotes for the people of Ipswich. They provide a fascinating insight into the history of banking in Ipswich in the early 19th Century."

Philip Wise, Collections & Curatorial Manager, said: "These banknotes are miniature works of art.  The Cobbold note in particular has a delightful depiction of a sailing ship."

Entry to the Museum is free. The Museum is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm.