A rare Irish 1928 £50 note – one of only about 20 examples available to collectors – comes up at Dix Noonan Webb in London on April 11. Estimated at £14,000-18,000 it highlights a strong selection of 100 Irish banknotes. After the 1922 establishment of the Irish Free State a currency commission was set up to advise the government of a monetary system. The first series of notes – with denominations from ten shillings to £100 – was issued on September 10, 1928. Only 10,000 of the £50 notes were issued and it is the most difficult to find. Around 20 of them are thought to have survived outside public collections. The print run for the first £100 note was lower, but many more of them are known to have survived.
Lady Hazel Lavery, wife of the artist Sir John Lavery, appears on all the notes. The new currency was linked to sterling. Other rarities include a Royal Bank of Ireland £10 note from 1929 (£4,000-5,000), and two Central Bank of Ireland £1 notes from 1943. During the Second World War Irish notes were printed in England and sent to Ireland. They were stamped with code letters so that they were easy to remonetize if the ship was attacked or the cash captured.