THEY were created by the rich wool and textile merchants of Huddersfield two centuries ago.
Now a collection of Huddersfield banknotes are coming up for auction in London.
And they are expected to fetch many hundreds of pounds – considerably more than their original value.
The notes for One Pound or One Guinea are included in an auction by London Coins on March 5.
Semra Catin, general manager of London Coins, said: “We expect a great deal of interest.
“There are a lot of serious collectors who favour these notes from the provincial banks of England from the early part of the 19th century.
“Some of the Huddersfield notes are in very good condition and we value them at up to £200 each”
Until the mid-eighteenth century the majority of private banks were located in the city of London.
The politician Edmund Burke stated in 1750 that ‘there were not above a dozen bankers outside London in the country.’
But by 1798 there were over 300 country bankers.
Until 1826, all private banks were partnership banks which, under common law, meant that the partners were jointly and severally liable for the whole of the partnership debts.
This meant that in towns like Huddersfield, wealthy businessmen would work together to set up banks.
This had the effect of restricting the establishment of branches as that implied trusting someone else with one’s assets.
Those banks situated outside London were known as ‘country’ or ‘provincial’ banks. Nearly all provincial banks would have had a London agent who would deal with stockbrokers, bill discounters and acceptance houses on their behalf.
Many provincial banks were started by businessmen as a means of generating capital for investment.
Agricultural banks, for example, were created to generate the required capital for the mechanisation of farming.
Anyone who had large sums of money lying unused for a period of time was tempted to start a bank.
The banker’s aim was to confine his notes to the immediate locality where they would be recognised, trusted and, hopefully, remain in circulation for a long time.
Once outside the vicinity the notes would gravitate to his London agent for redemption.
Towards the end of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century, the place of the private banker in the financial organisation of the country was becoming increasingly difficult.
This period saw a number of take-overs and amalgamations leading to the situation we see today with just a few large banks with many branches.
By 1921 the last provincial note issue had ceased.