A rare black and white one pound note, issued almost 200 years ago when Watford printed its own money, is expected to make a mint at auction in London on Friday (December 14).

The note is emblazoned with the words "Watford Bank" and was issued by that privately-owned bank in July 1823 - 40 years before the Watford Observer printed its first edition.

Now it is up for sale and set to fetch between £300 and £400 at Spink of Bloomsbury, London.
It is part of a collection of English provincial banknotes worth around £1 million which is being sold by Jersey-based property tycoon, David Kirch, 75.

Mr Kirch is said to be Britain’s 751st joint richest man, alongside singers Robbie Williams, David Bowie and George Michael who, like Mr Kirch, are said to be worth £100 million each.

Mr Kirch’s banknote collection is being sold by Spink in four parts and is described by Barnaby Faull, head of the banknotes department at the auctioneers, as "the best collection of English provincial banknotes by miles".

The Watford one pound note is particularly rare.

Mr Faull said: "The Watford note is not a common note, as Watford notes are not easy to get."

He said that in the last ten years "less than a handful" of Watford notes have come up for sale at Spink auctions.

It is particularly rare as the Watford Bank only existed for four years, so it produced comparatively few notes - and even fewer have survived.

Watford Bank was founded in 1823 - during the reign of King George IV, formerly the Prince Regent - and went bust in 1826, as many of the English provincial banks did at this time.

It was run by three local businessmen - Joseph Pike, William Horwill and Thomas Pike.
In fact, it is Joseph Pike’s handwritten signature which appears in the bottom right hand corner of the pound note coming up for sale next week.

A spokesman for Spink said: "All towns and cities used to issue their own banknotes. Merchants would get together and set up their own banks.

"But their notes, which were like IOUs, could only be used locally, so when many of these provincial banks went bust, as Watford Bank did, their notes became completely worthless."