The curator of Islandsbanki’s collection of old banknotes was arrested on Tuesday, accused of having stolen valuable notes from the bank collection and attempting to sell them.
According to Helgi Gunnarsson, a Reykjavik police detective, the investigation into the case has already been completed.
All evidence has been collected and forensic testing carried out. Islandsbanki has decided to press charges and the case is in the hands of legal experts.
According to Pressan.is, the man offered to sell an individual several banknotes from the collection — among them a very rare 100 krona Icelandic note from 1904, which is worth as much as ISK 1.5 million (EUR 9,100). There are thought to be no more than six such notes left in Iceland today.
The collector decided to check the note’s ownership before buying and when the serial numbers were compared, he realised it had come from the bank’s collection.
Islandsbanki is in possession of a very valuable numismatic collection which is the sum of the collections of all banks which merged over the decades to form present-day Islandsbanki (formerly Glitnir). They were Verslunarbanki, Utvegsbanki, Althydubanki and Idnadarbanki.
The collector called the police when he realised the origin of the note. The police decided to hold off doing anything until the two men were due to meet to discuss a purchasing price for the artefact. The curator was arrested in a police sting at the meeting.
In 1904, 100 kronur was the highest value note the bank circulated and was enough to buy a horse. For this reason very few were in active circulation and that is why they are so valuable today.