Empty your wallet and check your pocket - your £5 note could fetch thousands of pounds. 

Artist and engraver Graham Short has issued four £5 notes into circulation which has a tiny portrait of 18th-century Hampshire author Jane Austen engraved onto it as well as short quotes from the writer's work.

The notes are fetching as much as £20,000. 

The four notes have the serial numbers AM32 885551, AM32 885552, AM32 885553 and AM32 885554.

Short, who lives in Birmingham, is one of the world's most famous micro-artists and worked for two weeks on each note and then quietly put each one back into circulation.

Speaking about the idea, Graham said in a statement "She had a passion for reverence and ridicule and I think she would really like this idea."

When asked about why he did it, he said because "next year is the 200th anniversary of her death and her image will be on the new £10 note".

Under the Currency and Banknotes Act 1928, it is illegal to deface banknotes by printing or writing words, letters or numbers on them.

However, in this case the Bank of England confirmed that "the notes are still legal tender’’.

When questioned about the potential defacing, Graham said: "I wouldn't have started this without contacting the Bank of England and actually they're quite relaxed about it.

"I've spoken to them several times and, at the moment, they're more concerned with the animal products in it than my engravings."

The 70-year-old also said he was staggered at the prices quoted for being in possession of one of the notes. “I’ve no idea how much they will be worth if people try to sell them,” he said.

“But previous pieces I have worked on have been insured for more than £50,000.

“If somebody finds one I hope they will maybe put it on eBay. If they can get some extra money for Christmas I’ll be thrilled.”