Elderly Dales man banks £410,000 after rare notes found in his house clearance

Clearing out your home can uncover all sorts of trinkets long forgotten, but for one resident of the Yorkshire Dales it led to the discovery of six genuine treasures he never knew he had.

And now the rare Australian banknotes hiding under the lining paper of his chest of drawers have fetched a staggering 410,490 at auction.

The elderly owner in his 80s, who wants to remain anonymous, was due to move into a retirement home and called in his local auctioneers to go through the house and see what they could sell for him.

Rodney Tennant, of Tennant's Auctioneers, tasked with the job explained: "It wasn't a big house, but there was so much clutter to get through. Three or four weeks in – we had cleared most of the house and then we spotted the lining paper in a chest of drawers and had a look underneath it."

Lying undisturbed and in mint condition were a series of 1913 Commonwealth of Australia banknotes.

"You would have never known they were there." said Mr Tennant. "They were laid out flat so there was no ripple or bump in the paper covering to indicate something was hidden. There was no way of telling how long they had been there."

"Frankly, it took a long time to persuade him the notes were his," said Mr Tennant.

"He simply didn't know they were there. I asked him how long he had had the chest of drawers. He said 'all my life, at least 50 years'."

Mr Tennant eventually convinced the owner, described as "eccentric", they were his notes and put him in touch with specialist auctioneers Spink. They informed international collectors and set up an auction.

The notes were issued in Australia and specimens were strictly rationed with allocations to private individuals almost unheard of, leading to

the high price.