A baker has told how his shop had its hands on a special engraved £5 note worth up£50,000 – but accidentally gave it away as CHANGE.
Alan Malone said he was “absolutely gutted” the special note passed through his til while he was unaware of its value.
The fiver was one of five micro-engraver Graham Short, 70, etched with tiny 5mm portraits of Jane Austen.
Art experts estimate the fivers could be worth up to £50,000 after collectors forked out thousands to buy notes with unusual serial numbers.
Graham has been putting them into circulation – including at Alan’s Granny Jean’s Home Bakery in Kelso, Scottish Borders.
Alan didn’t realise until days later that he’d had his hands on the note Graham handed over to buy some pies.
But he says he’s now never ben busier as people inundate the shop in the hope of getting a bumper windfall fiver.
Kelso art gallery owner Tony Huggins-Haig came up with the idea with the artist, whose art work he has sold on previous occasions.
Alan said: ‘”Tony from the art gallery came in on Monday. The only reason I know that is because someone recorded him.
“The lad that as with him was standing at the back of the shop recording him.
”He was pretending to be texting but he recorded Tony handing over the £5 note to [staff member] Patsy.
“Tony himself called me on Wednesday to tell me that he spent the note on Monday, but by that time it was long gone.
“I did not know anything about it. He spent it in the shop because there is a high turnover and it would go into circulation quicker.
“I’m absolutely gutted that I didn’t know. I would have kept it. I’ve just moved house and could have done with the money. I would have had a very good Christmas.
“Since then, there has been a lot of people coming in to pay for their pie with a tenner in the hope of getting that fiver in change.
“However, unfortunately, that particular note is long gone. I reckon it will have gone to someone in the shop who got change on Monday, between 10.30am and 1.30pm.
“I know this because we ran out of fivers around that time. It could be in London, Aberdeen or anywhere by now.
“The whole thing has been a great advert for the shop as we’ve never been busier.”
The note is one of five produced by Graham, from Birmingham, and the other four have been spent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Each note features a 5mm portrait of Austen encircled by a quote from one of her books.
Graham has previously engraved art to items such as a razor’s edge, pinhead, brass screw, football stud and a fountain pen.
His last piece of art, a portrait of the Queen engraved on a speck of gold inside the eye of a needle, sold for £100,000.