Antiques Roadshow guest stunned by dark truth behind rare fiver from World War 2

AN Antiques Roadshow guest was left stunned by a dark truth behind a rare fiver from World War Two.

A recent episode of the BBC show saw expert Will Farmer meet a man called Benjamin Zephaniah, who had a collection of historic bank notes.


Will asked: "An album indicates a collection, and a collection indicates a collector.

"Tell me about these, and there is a whole folio here of banknotes. What's the story behind these then?"

Benjamin replied: "One day I was doing a TV programme and they asked me what my hobby was and as a joke I just said 'collecting money'."

As they both laughed he continued: "It was a joke, and then people started sending me banknotes, and I started collecting. That's exactly how it started."

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Will then spotted a rare white £5 note and said it was from "Operation Bernhard" in World War Two.

He continued: "Nazis came up with an idea that they were going to print and put into circulation fake white fivers to try and destabilise the economy."

The fake money was made by prisoners of war before revealing the note "would fetch up to £100 or £150".

Benjamin was stunned, but he received a further surprise when Will told him the value of a gold coin in his collection.

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The expert said: "The value of the gold alone in today's market is about £750, the value of it as a medal and with the story takes it over £1,000."

Benjamin – a poet – explained how he came to receive the coin and how he uses it to help teach children about history.

Will said: "That to me is far more important than any of the monetary value."

Benjamin replied: "I'm getting emotional. You said that so beautifully."


Antiques Roadshow is available on BBC iPlayer.

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