INDIA 5 Rupees 1940 watermarked blanks P18

Watermarked blanks salvaged after 50 years lying underwater


Watermarked banknote paper never printed on. These sheets were to print 5 Rupees P# 18. Salvaged from a ship sunk in 1940, these sheets survived fifty years underwater. Just two days before Christmas of 1940, as the English Ship, S.S. Breda ( on her way to India ) was lying in Banderloch, Scotland (the convergence point for several WWII convoys), two German Heinkel bomber planes dove out of the skies to drop their explosives on the assembled shipping group.

Although the S.S. Breda did not receive a direct hit, the old ship was shaken apart by the blasts. The rescue teams were able to clear the deck cargo, and the horse/cattle stock was able to swim to safety before the ship finallysank. And there, the remnants of this ship and her below deck freight remained for 50 years.

The Admiralty, of course knew what this vessel was carrying, but made no mention of it in any official reports, and it was not until a treasure diving team began scouting the holds, that it was discovered that the S.S. Breda was hauling a shipment of high quality banknote printing paper, prepared and security watermarked by the firm of Portals (owned by the Bank of England). This had been expressly manufactured for printing the 5 Rupees banknotes of India.