For the past month, I have attempted to cultivate an air of studied indifference to the story of the Priceless Fivers – the four British £5 notes, embellished with a tiny Jane Austen portrait engraved by artist Graham Short, that a Scottish gallery put into circulation in early December.
But the truth is I’m just as entranced by this Regency Golden Ticket game-cum-publicity-stunt as the next grownup who still remembers her first read of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The proof lies in the way my heart leapt when I learned that the fiver put into circulation in Scotland has been found, two weeks after the Welsh note turned up.
The Scottish note was tucked into a Christmas card. The recipient checked for the Austen portrait just on the off chance – and there it was. Apparently, the sender had no idea his/her gift could be worth much more than £5 -- though I continue to insist that there’s very little basis for speculation that the notes could be worth as much as £50,000.
In any case, financial speculation seems to be moot: the recipient plans to frame the note and hang it on a wall.
Meanwhile, the notes put into circulation in England and Northern Ireland remain out there somewhere, and so far, it looks like my guess that it might take months, even years, for the fivers to surface was wildly off-base. I could pretend that I won’t care when the last two turn up. . . but that would be a lie.