Royal Banks’ ‘Red Guinea’ notes hits auction

THE Royal Bank of Scotland’s “red guinea” banknote from 1777 is going under the hammer next week.

The red guinea is thought to be first tri-coloured note to be issued in Scotland and possibly in Europe.

The banknote promises to pay “Archibald Hope” one guinea.

Hope is believed to have been Sir Archibald Hope, who built Pinkie House at Musselburgh, east of Edinburgh, in 1778.

Andrew Pattison, head of banknotes at auction house Noonans, said: “This is as much an historical document as it is a banknote.

“Politics and finance originally came together to shape the history of Scotland with the collapse of the Darien venture.

“The Royal Bank of Scotland was able to prosper as a shareholding company because the Scottish banking system was not restricted by the monopoly of the Bank of England, as institutions were south of the Border.

“The modern banking system has its origins in the days when this note was issued, and it is a fascinating reminder of those times.”

The Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1727 using money left over from the bailout of the Darien scheme, during which Scotland attempted to found a colony in what is now Panama.

The red guinea is expected to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000 when it comes up for auction on 24 and 25 August.

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s news pages.

Plus, don’t miss our heritage feature about author Alistair MacLean in the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.