Occasionally we come across excellent articles which we feel provide great insight into particular areas of rare banknote collecting. They are reproduced in our blog with credit to the authors.
Collecting Australian First and Last Prefix Notes (John Pettit)
Collecting first and last prefix notes is not a new concept in Australia. When the first decimal notes were released in 1966, collectors and many of the general public were keen to acquire a brand new dollar note with the prefix AAA, and so forth. When paper decimal notes were withdrawn from the note issue in 1984, last prefixes such as DPS in the one dollar were similarly souvenired. This established a trend for the polymer note series which have become very popular with collectors. Rare pieces in uncirculated condition can command thousands of dollars.
The marketing of the 25th Anniversary Banknote Sets by Note Printing Australia in 1991 made available to collectors quantities of last prefix pre-decimal notes. Included were the first prefixes of the decimal notes, although many of the sets have now been broken up, and future intact sets will become increasingly scarce. Due to a lack of generally available information on the pre-decimal first and last prefixes, it has only been relatively recently that the interest in the pre-decimal series has gathered momentum.
A big step was taken in 2009 when Renniks 'Australian Coin & Banknote Values' individually listed and priced them for the first time. As with paper decimal, the exact prefixes remain uncertain in several cases, as obviously do the print-runs. Prices may also change markedly as true rarities are yet to be established for some varieties. A general rule that applies in pricing is that the larger the print-run for a particular note, the less chance ther is (in percentage terms) of acquiring a first or last prefix, thus justifying a hefty premium.
The popularity of first and last prefix notes in Australia can only increase as the market matures, and those who have completed their basic signature sets seek to expand their horizons. It is a natural progression of banknote collecting and is consistent with the trends in England, Scotland and Canada some of whom have been chasing this dream for decades. For example, the First Edition of 'English Paper Money' in 1975 listed and priced first and last prefixes, often with only a small premium over the price of 'mid-prefixes', and there has been a pronounced interest in this mode of collecting ever since.
We think that there are still some hidden bargains for patient Australian collectors with an eye to the long term.
Thomas Horton James and the Sydney Bank (Peter Symes)
During the 1820s New South Wales went through prosperous times but only one bank was reaping the benefits of the boom. While some companies had been issuing private notes for a number of years, such as the Waterloo Company, banking business was limited to the Bank of New South Wales. In January 1826 the Bank declared an impressive half-yearly dividend of £9/5/- [i] on shares worth £30/10/-, an announcement that led a group of the colony’s pastoralists and government officials to establish a second bank. The result of their endeavours was the Bank of Australia [ii] , which opened for business on 3 July 1826.
The Australian Banking Company (Peter Symes)
Accompanying this article is an illustration of an unissued banknote, prepared for the Sydney Banking Company of Sydney. Of the banknotes prepared for issue by the Australian Banking Company, but never placed into circulation, this banknote is one of two types known to exist [i] . The Australian Banking Company failed in dramatic circumstances in the 1890s, but the all-too-familiar story of avarice and greed behind the company and its abortive banknote issue gives an intriguing insight into the era in which the banknote was produced.