Curiosities from the vaults: a Bank miscellany

Quarterly Bulletin 2014 Q1
Published on 14 March 2014

By Jennifer Adam and Chris Shadforth of the Bank’s Communications Directorate.

Over the period since its foundation in 1694, the Bank has amassed an extensive collection of artworks, coins, medals, banknotes and myriad other objects, mainly acquired in the course of its business. This article presents a few items of intrigue from a new exhibition that will run in the Bank’s museum from 31 March to 12 July 2014. These include a secret ballot box designed by the Bank’s architect, Sir John Soane; a saddle bag that may have belonged to Lawrence of Arabia; and signed high value banknotes from distinguished visitors to the Bank — from Prince Frederick of Prussia in 1842 through to George Eliot, President Nelson Mandela and, in December 2012, Her Majesty the Queen. Taken together, it is hoped that this collection of curiosities provides an interesting snapshot of a unique public collection.

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