Friday, 11 February 2011

News - Notes issued by short-lived Bank of Retford could fetch up to £220 at auction

THE chequered history of a short-lived Retford private bank will be recalled as two of its old £1 bills go under the hammer.
In what could be one of the shortest-lived banks ever, the Bank of Retford, established by aristocrats Roger Pocklington and William Dickinson in 1799, closed after just ten years of trading.

Next month, two £1 notes issued by the bank in 1808 will go for auction separately by London Coins in Bracknell, with a combined sale estimate of £140 to £220.

While not legal tender, they are often highly sought after by collectors, said London Coins general manager, Semra Cetin.

She said: "During this era many provincial banks sprung up across the British Isles all printing their own notes.

"Although these notes have long since lost their redeemable value, they have a much more substantial value to collectors."

The notes are similar to those donated to Bassetlaw Museum by Retford Historical and Archaeological Society for its opening.

Society chairman Malcolm Dolby said it was not uncommon at the time for wealthy aristocrats to set up local banks – regardless of experience.

He said: "These were members of the aristocracy who set up their own private banks or became involved with banking as a way of investment.

"It was always a matter of trying to interest your bosses while trying to interest your partners.

"You always had the pressure and only needed bad trading, bad deposits or a bad stroke of luck to run out of business and leave people queuing out of the doors to withdraw their money.

"It's had some modern echoes actually."

After a mere 10 years of trading, a combination of taking on an inexperienced colleague and an employee swindling the bank of its assets are thought to have led to its bankruptcy.

Mr Dolby said: "You were dealing with some partners who had no experience.

"The rules and regulations weren't as strong as they were later."

Although the Bank of Retford went bankrupt in 1809, it continued to pay dividends to its creditors for a staggering 60 years afterwards.

Despite research on the subject, there is still no firm idea of where in the town the Bank Of Retford was located.

A building adjacent to the town hall labelled "The Old Bank" is thought to have been a bank belonging to Cook & Co.

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