South East Wales

Jane Austen £5 note 'worth £50,000' spent in Blackwood

Graham Short engraved a 5mm portrait of author Jane Austen on the new plastic £5 notes Image copyright Ferguson Media
Image caption Graham Short engraved a 5mm portrait of author Jane Austen on the new plastic £5 notes

One of four special £5 notes engraved with a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen has been spent in Caerphilly county and could be worth up to £50,000.

Specialist micro-engraver Graham Short has said he spent the money featuring his work at a cafe in Blackwood.

The artist saw his note was not checked by the cashier and hopes it has ended up as someone's change.

The other notes were spent in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Short came up with the idea of engraving a 5mm portrait of the Pride and Prejudice author on the transparent part of the new plastic Bank of England £5 notes, to mark the 200th anniversary of her death next year.

He has included a different quote around each one, ensuring each note is unique.

Mr Short's last work, a portrait of the Queen on a pinhead, sold for £100,000.

Image copyright Graham Short
Image caption Graham Short pictured at the Square Cafe in Blackwood

"I'm fortunate that my work sells in the world's top art galleries to fine art investors," Mr Short told BBC Radio Wales' Jason Mohammad programme.

"Generally this artwork is out of the reach for most people. I wanted an ordinary man or woman to find it in their hands.

"I didn't spend the money in somewhere like Harrods or an expensive restaurant. I bought a sausage and egg sandwich in a high street cafe.

"I chose Blackwood because that's where my mother was born in 1909."

Mr Short described his sandwich at Square Cafe as "good" and said it was bought at 14:30 GMT on Thursday, 8 December.

He added: "I was hoping that the lady wouldn't check it when I gave it to her - which she didn't - because I wanted it to go into somebody's change.

"I don't know how far the note will travel. It could be local and I hope it is."

Mr Short said his work usually sells for about £100,000 and the notes were insured for £50,000 each.

"I would hope they put them on to an internet auction site and I would hope they could get some money for Christmas," he added.

Image copyright Ferguson Media
Image caption The serial numbers of the four £5 notes will help to identify them

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