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Rare Australian Note Up for Bid
By Kerry Rogers, Bank Note Reporter
January 16, 2014

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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In December the Queensland auction house of Roxburys was appointed official auctioneers of the Western Australia’s Rare Coin Co.’s stock. That stock includes the one and only example of an Australian, so-called Type 2, 1923 £1,000 note (P-).

The RCC was placed in receivership last July. The receivers are presently selling the coin and bank note stock of RCC’s two Perth shops, the Albany retail store, Monetarium Sydney, and items repurchased from clients. They include an extensive holding of coins and bank notes from Australia and around the world.

It is understood that the world notes and British coins will be sold separately. Details are unknown at this stage. Roxburys will be offering the Australian notes and coins in their regular February auction slated for Feb. 8 at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Among the extensive range of Australian pre-decimal and decimal notes cataloged are decimal specimens (Type 1 to Type 5), rare serial numbers (e.g. 01 and 02 decimals), errors, and replacements.

Leading the charge is that probably unique 1923, Type 2, specimen £1,000. Also jostling for a top spot are a possibly unique 1913, £10 Collins/Allen specimen (P-6s), and one of only two known in private hands 1923, K-prefix, £1 Millers/Collins in EF (P-12a).

But most interest will surely be focused on the £1,000. The note has quite a history.

Australia introduced a £1,000 note as part of its first 1914 Commonwealth note issue. The note’s primary purpose was to assist transfer of large sums between banks. A total of 88,585 were printed, all signed by Collins and Allen.

In June 1915 the governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Denison Miller, expressed some disquiet over “the colour, size and paper quality” of the new £1,000. He saw these as too easily counterfeited. He recommended the new note not circulate among the public. Subsequently, the use of the £1,000 by banks was tightly monitored.

In 1922 the Notes Board ordered plates for a new £1,000 note from England to accompany an entire new note issue—the 1923-25 series (P-10 to P-14). A specimen was received on May 18, 1923, and the design accepted.

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Approval was given on July 7, 1924, by the board for £1,000 notes to be printed on handmade watermarked paper used for the Commonwealth Treasury Bonds. However, the use of such notes by banks was now decreasing and on June 5, 1928, it was decided not to proceed with printing the new design. Instead first issue £1,000 notes continued in use as late as 1969.

And there the matter rested until the March edition of Australian Coin Review appeared on the newsstands in 1994. The front cover carried a photograph of the 1923 specimen note which Sydney-based dealers Monetarium had obtained. Inside an article speculated: “It is probable, but by no means certain…that the Type Two specimen £1,000 note was that received by the Notes Board from London on 18 May 1923.”

That year the specimen was star of the show at the Numismatic Association of Australia coin fair in Sydney on March 26-27.

The note measures 96 x 186mm with the word SPECIMEN perforated at the bottom right. Its face is similar to other George V notes in 1923-25 series. It is printed in blue intaglio over a large yellow “1000” with a fine green and yellow patterned underprint containing repeated small “1000.” The geometrical lathe design on the back is printed in chocolate-brown intaglio. The note has been folded and has some small spots around the edge. It has been graded VF.

Following its discovery it was sold by Monetarium in 1994 by private treaty to a collector for a then record price of $250,000. On Sept. 21, 2008, it was resold by International Auction Galleries for $890,000.

Prospective bidders should keep a close weather watch on Roxburys’ website: Alternatively, catalogs can be sourced from Roxburys Auction House, 290 Boundary Street, Spring Hill QLD 4000, Australia, or phone: +617 3831 2599, fax: +617 3831 2722, or email: The main viewing day will be Feb. 7.

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