Two days before Christmas of 1940, the English ship, the S.S. Breda bound for India, lay anchored in Banderloch, Scotland. Before she was able to make her journey, two German Heinkel bomber planes dove out of the skies and attacked the Breda’s convoy.
Although she did not receive a direct hit, the blasts ruptured a water inlet pipe and the ship was towed back in part for beaching. The rescue teams were able to clear the deck cargo and allow the livestock to swim to safety before the ship finally sank. 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. It was not until a treasure diving team began scouting the holds, that it was discovered that the Breda was hauling a shipment of high quality banknote printing paper, prepared and security watermarked by the firm of Portals, which was owned by the Bank of England. These had been expressly manufactured for printing the five and ten Rupees banknotes of India.
While the banknote paper shows obvious signs of having lain on the bottom of the ocean for decades, its terrific watermark, embedded in the paper, is still visible when held to the light. We find this to be a fascinating conversation piece and would make a unique addition to your collection.