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Forum Home > World Coins & Paper Money > Watermarked Paper Money : SS Breda

broken compass
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On 23rd of December 1940, two German Heinkel bombers attacked a convoy of British ships awaiting in Ardmucknish Bay, Benderloch, near Oban in Scotland. Among the damaged vessels was a Dutch ship, the S.S. Breda. Built in 1921, Breda was 400 feet long and weighed about 7,000 tons. Bound for India to help build an air strip, her manifest included Tiger Moth motorcycles,cement, leather and a Rolls Royce. As they tried to tow her to safety, she listed and sank, with her masts still well above water. For years, divers practiced on her, as she was a well known shipwreck. Later, the masts had to be cut off to alleviate the obstruction to shipping.


The S.S. Breda lay there, dived on, but in many ways undiscovered because of the darkness of the loch. Then the Tralee Bay Diving and Watersports Club made a most amazing discovery. In one of the long hidden cargo holds was found the remains of paper, but not just any paper can survive 50 years under water. This was fine quality paper used for the printing of banknotes! Portals, who was owned by the Bank of England, had manufactured special paper for the printing of Indian banknotes, watermarked with the portrait of King George VI. The wooden boxes had been eaten away and the edges of the uncut sheets were a little ragged, but this treasure was still intact!

In order to keep the find secret, the divers refilled their air tanks at three different locations some ten miles apart. That part of Scotland is close knit and they wanted to protect their treasure find for as long as possible. Over the years, salvage rights to the hull had been obtained but no one had thought to get the rights for the contents. This was quickly rectified and on the 11th September , 1992, when the Deputy Receiver of Wrecks, Oban, gave those rights to the diving crew.



This banknote paper is an authentic relic of that shipwreck. It was originally destined to become an India ten rupee banknote. The water mark shows a likeness of King George VI, the denomination and the words, “RESERVE BANK OF INDIA”


Below are pictures of the watermarked paper money recovered from the wreck...






January 31, 2012 at 12:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Limited Member
Posts: 7

great piece of history, lucky you. is it possible for you to add close up pictures.

January 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Albert Davidson
Limited Member
Posts: 7

Interesting Information.

November 11, 2012 at 10:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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