In an unplanned act of charity, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong put his own set of three Singapore Bicentennial $20 commemorative notes on auction at a children's charity gala yesterday.
ESM Goh, who was guest of honour at the charity gala lunch for Arc Children's Centre, which supports children with cancer and life-threatening illnesses, said he had not brought anything with him to contribute to the charity auction, but came up with the idea on the spot.
"I have just bought the bicentennial $20 notes. This is an uncut piece of the note. It's worth more than $60," he said to the 550 people at the gala held at Shangri-La Hotel.
The notes eventually went for $36,199 and the bidder was later identified as property developer City Developments Limited.
The three-in-one uncut sheet sells for $280, according to the Singapore Mint website. There were just 5,000 sets made and they are already sold out.
Yesterday's event raised more than $600,000, and the money will be used to help fund the centre's new premises and programmes for the children.
The centre will be moving into larger premises at the void deck of Block 77 Lorong Limau, near Whampoa, later this year, said co-founder Geraldine Lee.
She said the new premises are more than twice as big as the current premises in Kim Keat Road, with 5,000 sq ft of floor space compared with 2,200 sq ft.
Mr Goh, in his speech, said: "When I was prime minister, I strove for a kinder and gentler Singapore. With a wider network, we can build an even better home for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses in Singapore."