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Polperro Pounds

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The return home of rare "Polperro pounds"
The story of Zephaniah Job, the "Smugglers' banker"
Polperro's own bank notes

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Want more information? Contact the author of this page - tonywhite@polperro.org

Polperro One Pound Note  - photo copyright  November 2012
Polperro one pound note - photo copyright Polperro Heritage Museum - all rights reserved November 2012  

Rare Polperro bank notes come home

In early October 2012 the David Kirch collection of English provincial bank notes was auctioned at Spinks in London. The collection included two very rare Polperro Bank notes. The trustees of the Polperro Heritage Museum are delighted that they were able to purchase both notes and to have them back in the village where they belong. They will be on display in the museum next year (2013).

One is an issued £1 note signed by Zephaniah Job dated 1818 and the other an un-issued £5 note. One other £5 note is known to be in the County Museum in Truro, how many other notes are in private collections is unknown.

The "Smugglers' Banker"

Zephaniah Job was born at St Agnes in 1750 and came to Polperro in the early 1770s. Being an educated man, he set up a school for the local community and also became a very astute and wealthy businessman with an interests in most things that turned a profit. He also became the steward to the Trelawny estate in Pelynt. In Polperro he is remembered as the “Smugglers Banker”. "Free trading" (or as the Government saw it - smuggling) was at its zenith during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, especially during the time of the Napoleonic wars and Job put the “trade” on a sound financial basis, organising the cargoes with the Guernsey businessmen, collecting monies due and arranging legal assistance when it was needed. The Polperro men flourished under his guidance.

Polperro five pound note  -  photo copyright November 2012
Polperro five pound note - photo copyright Polperro Heritage Museum - all rights reserved November 2012  

Polperro's own Bank Notes

Zephaniah Job was also a money lender, so in 1806 he obtained a banking licence and began issuing Polperro Bank notes in £1, £2,and £5 denominations which were printed in London and payable by Christopher Smith Son & Co, one of the London merchant bankers he dealt with. These provincial notes were basically a promissory note and it was essential that enough coin was always to hand to redeem any notes that were presented, something that Job was diligent about during his lifetime. Job died unexpectedly in 1822 leaving behind a legacy as a fine businessman and a benefactor to Polperro.

Tony White, © 2012

This information prepared 8 November 2012

For more information please visit our Smuggling, History and Museum pages
There is more information on Zephaniah Job on our Family History pages - click here

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