Mystery Irish woman donates rare £50k fiver

An elderly lady from Northern Ireland who found a rare five-pound note engraved with the portrait of Jane Austen has donated it to charity.

The note has an estimated value of £50,000 and was found by a woman who referred to herself only as "J". She returned the five-pound note to the Scottish Gallery from which it came from, asking that it be used to benefit a charitable cause. Her hand-written note said '£5 note enclosed, I don't need it at my time of life. Please use it to help young people".

The anonymous benefactor is known to be from County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. The Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery in Kelso, Scotland, suggested the five-pound note would likely be auctioned off in aid of Children in Need.

Only four notes were created and engraved with the Jane Austen portrait, with one being spent in each of the home countries. The first was found late last year in a cafe in South Wales, and the second was made inside a Christmas card over the festive period. This latest discovery means England is now the only remaining country yet to find its jackpot Austen note.

The gallery in question told how the woman made contact in mid-January to tell them she'd found the note whilst visiting Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. When the gallery suggested they required proof of her discovery, she sent them a photograph showing the note with a dated copy of her local newspaper.

Michael Huggins, the gallery's assistant manager, said the woman then asked for a couple of weeks to "mull over" what she might do with it. "Then we received this note in the mail along with the fiver," he said.

"The note just said she wanted it to be used to help young people. It seems we'll auction it off, but we've also spoken to the artist Graham Short about creating another one-off note as well, so we'll auction both off together."