Bought by the vendor at a Midlands auction room, the $1000 Straits Settlement note numbered 00001 sold for Sin$420,000 (£180,000) at Spink.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The price, a record for an Asian banknote, also represents a remarkable coup for a British antiquarian bookseller who discovered the note between the pages of a book purchased in a small provincial auction house in the Midlands.

The note, numbered 00001 and dated 17 March 1911, was found by the vendor in an envelope titled Specimen - On His Majesty's Service that also listed the serial number of the note in ink.

It was fairly common practice at the time to use the number one note as a specimen, which would have been kept by the government for reference purposes. However the 'defacing' of a bill of this magnitude was a costly endeavour.

Spink's estimate was Sin$200,000-$400,000. The buyer was a Singapore businessman.