South East Wales

Harry Kane '£50,000' fiver spent in Merthyr Tydfil off licence

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Media captionHarry Kane fiver: Merthyr shop owner and locals react

A £5 note engraved with the image of England striker Harry Kane has gone into circulation in Merthyr Tydfil.

Micro-engraver Graham Short made six of the notes after Kane won the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals during the 2018 World Cup.

He used the note at a shop in Cefn Coed last Wednesday.

The artist previously etched Jane Austen on to new £5 notes when they were first circulated and those have been valued at £50,000.

Mr Short, from Birmingham, chose Merthyr Tydfil because his father was born in nearby Dowlais.

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Media captionGraham Short's portrait of the Queen on a pinhead fetched £100,000

The other notes were spent in Meriden in the West Midlands, and the Elephant House in Edinburgh - where JK Rowling used to write.

A fourth note will be spent in Northern Ireland.

He gifted the other two notes to the Football Association and to Tottenham Hotspur forward Kane himself.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harry Kane won the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals during the 2018 World Cup

Mr Short uses very fine needles to scratch the images into clear sections of the notes. They remain legal tender, so it is up to sharp-eyed customers or shopkeepers to see if they have one.

Explaining his decision to spend the money in Merthyr, Mr Short said: "I wanted someone to find it who perhaps needed the money, and they can perhaps sell it for whatever - holidays or Christmas.

"I like the magical feeling of it and just want people to be as excited as I am.

"It's just a bit of fun, but it also puts my art beyond the walls of a gallery. My art sells for a lot of money now and it's really out of reach for most people.

"But if they find this and sell it and make a lot of money, I'll be really pleased with that."

Why are the notes worth so much?

It is not the first time Mr Short's sterling work has been valued highly, with a portrait of the Queen being sold for £100,000 in 2016.

The valuation comes from the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery, which insures his etchings at £50,000 each.

Money specialist website Change Checker says the phenomenon of people spending big money on banknotes depends on the notes having "an interesting story behind them".

It said: "AA01 banknotes were part of the first batch of banknotes printed or serial number AK47 have been particularly popular thanks to the machine gun connotations.

"It really is just personal preference and what someone is willing to pay to have a certain banknote in their collection."

Manpreet Kaur, who owns the off licence where the Harry Kane £5 note was spent - but failed to spot it for herself - said: "You don't think. Someone will give you a note and then another customer comes in and needs a five pounds note.

"That's why I missed it."

Image copyright Graham Short
Image caption Mr Short spent one of the precious £5 notes in the Bal Off Licence in Merthyr Tydfil

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