The £5 Ploughman
A banknote from the Republic of Ireland for the period 1929 to 1939 will be offered at auction in the next Heritage Auctions sale on April 24, 2020 (1). This is a 5 Pounds Type 1929 note from National Bank Limited (Ref. Pick:# 27 or TBB: B109N) also called "The Ploughman". The note is dated March 15, 1933 (15-3-33) and numbered 03 NK 052526. Graduated PMG 65 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, it is also one of the four most beautiful copies known in the world (see table PMG Population Report below).
Presentation of the note
Although the constitution of an Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) was proclaimed on December 6, 1922, Ireland (Eire) did not really gain independence until December 1937. The Republic of Ireland then became a parliamentary system in which the two official languages are English and Irish. This is why the composition of the front of this 5 Pounds note is divided into two parts: the texts on the left in English and their translation in Irish on the right. In the center, a large rosette and the numerical value serve as a dividing line. Below, a plowing scene is represented with a peasant and his two draft horses in the Irish countryside, hence the nickname attributed to the note of "£5 Ploughman". The design of the front is inspired by a drawing by Mr. Desmond Brien, one of the members of the first committee of the Monetary Commission. A harp and a clover make up the watermark. The bill was printed by Thomas de La Rue in London between May 6, 1929 and September 16, 1939 (but the last dates found stop for now on January 5, 1939). The dimensions of the note are 165 x 92 mm. Main printing colors: brown and green. The note is signed by Joseph Brennan, the President of the Currency Commission and by H. A. Russell. On the back, the Saint Patrick bridge over the River Lee and the city of Cork are represented inside a large guilloche frame made up of multiple rosettes with the value “£5” repeated on the sides. Known series range: 01 NK to 04 NK. The letter "N" in the series has been assigned to National Bank Limited (2).
Our score shows 29 known copies (2) and distributed in the table below:
|Issue date||Serie/Number||Known grade||Observed price|
|6-5-29||01 NK 001767||G||sold €700 on the website adverts.ie|
|6-5-29||01 NK 013647||VF+||for sale at £1350 on ebay, March 2020|
|6-5-29||01 NK 031013||PMG 40 Extremely Fine EPQ||unsold at £1500 Spink, Auction #17032 (Lot #3810)|
|6-5-29||01 NK 041587||G||sold for €35 by cgb.fr (Lot #b24_0416)|
|6-5-29||01 NK 085901||VF||for sale at £1600 by Pam West British Notes March 2020|
|6-5-29||02 NK 002737||VF pressed||sold for £400 London Coins 2015 (Lot #267)|
|6-5-29||02 NK 010791||F/VF||for sale at €800 on the website adverts.ie March 2020|
|6-5-29||02 NK 012960||-||photo of the website: irishpapermoney.com|
|8-5-31||02 NK 055924||PMG 35 Very Fine NET||for sale at $1995 ebay, March 2020|
|8-5-31||02 NK 063608||F pressed||sold for £650 London Coins 2011 (Lot #3348)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 050102||F||sold for €480 Whyte's 2010 (Lot #532)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052523||PMG 66 Gem Unc EPQ||unsold at $10000 (Reserve price) HA August 2018 (Lot #28127)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052524||PMG 66 Gem Unc EPQ||unsold at $10000 (Reserve price) HA August 2018 (Lot #28127)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052526||PMG 65 Gem Unc EPQ||for sale at $3000 HA April 2020 (Lot #26129)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052557||PCGS 66PPQ Gem New||unsold at $3000 Stack's Bowser 2017 (Lot #30269)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052571||PCGS Choice About New 58 PPQ||sold for $3760 Stack's Bowser 2016 (Lot #30286)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052590||-||photo of the website: colnect.com|
|15-3-33||03 NK 052596||PMG 55 About Unc||sold for $2160 HA 2019 (Lot #28458)|
|15-3-33||03 NK 067548||PMG 15 Choice Fine||sold for $705 HA 2016 (Lot #26396)|
|2-9-38||03 NK 090374||VF||sold for £280 Spink, Auction #7024 (Lot #817)|
|2-9-38||03 NK 099184||F||for sale at €950 on the website: adverts.ie March 2020|
|2-9-38||04 NK 009441||VG||sold for £320 Spink, Auction #7024 (Lot #816)|
|5-1-39||04 NK 027246||XF||sold for €289,65 cgb.fr (Lot #b24_0417)|
|5-1-39||04 NK 029016||-||photo of the Pick Catalog, page 748|
|5-1-39||04 NK 032129||VF||for sale at $1950 ebay, March 2020|
|5-1-39||04 NK 036688||PMG 50 About Unc EPQ||sold for $1410 HA 2017 (Lot #27554)|
|5-1-39||04 NK 036697||PMG 35 Choice Very Fine||sold for $940 HA 2017 (Lot #27555)|
|5-1-39||04 NK 037534||VF||Sold for £600 London Coins 2019 (Lot #1541)|
|(4)||04 NK 040700||-||National Bank Limited archive|
A recent find?
We observed in our score the probability that a number of banknotes in good quality concerning the date of 15-3-33 are the subject of a recent discovery. The numbers assumed range from 03 NK 052523 to 03 NK 052596. But we have not yet been able to confirm this hypothesis!
PMG Population Report
17 notes are currently referenced in the PMG Population Report and distributed according to the following qualities:
|PMG 15||PMG 25||PMG 35||PMG 40 EPQ||PMG 45||PMG 45 EPQ|
|PMG 50 EPQ||PMG 55||PMG 55 EPQ||PMG 64||PMG 65 EPQ||PMG 66 EPQ|
(1) See our news in English from March 23, 2020: "Upcoming auctions".
(2) Concerning this Consolidated Banknote issue, created and regulated by the Monetary Commission between 1929 and 1941, eight Irish banks had to share the issue of this note. And in order to recognize the denominations issued by each of these banks, a specific serial letter was assigned to them:
- B = Bank of Ireland (5 Pounds Pick # 9),
- H = Hibernian Bank (5 Pounds Pick # 15),
- M = Munster & Leinster Bank (5 Pounds Pick # 21),
- N = National Bank (5 Pounds Pick # 27),
- O = Northen Bank (5 Pounds Pick # 33),
- P = Provincial Bank of Ireland (5 Pounds Pick # 39),
- R = Royal Bank of Ireland (5 Pounds Pick # 45),
- U = Ulster Bank (5 Pounds Pick # 51).
See all Ploughman 5 Pounds referenced in the PMG Population Report!
(3) Note that our score only includes 9 “PMG” notes out of the 17 copies graded in the “PMG Population Report”. We must therefore add 8 PMG copies to the Numizon inventory, which gives 37 banknotes currently known for the Type!
(4) The National Bank received its last batch of £ 5 notes dated November 5, 1944 and the highest number observed was "04NK 040700" (date unknown but probably 5-1-39).
- "The Banknote Book: Ireland, Republic of" by Mark Irwin & Owen W. Linzmayer.
- The Ploughman Scan Survey (PSS): The question of how many Currency Commission Consolidated (Ploughman) banknotes are likely to have survived, and the proportion of surviving notes for each bank has long been a topic of speculation and discussion. The Ploughman Scan Survey aims to address these questions. Members and visitors are invite to post a pic of any Ploughman notes they have come across.
- "Irish Banknotes. Irish Paper Money 1928–2001" by Martan MacDevitt, 4th Edition 2020.