Like so many people who are completely fascinated by the collecting of Australian banknotes and coins, I find that I am often on the end of a very sharp learning curve. There are so many variants and varieties within the field of numismatics that one is constantly learning and appraising everything that you know. It is now more than 30 years since the one dollar note was replaced by the one dollar coin and over 48 years since the inception of decimal currency. The advent of polymer notes has assisted in making the old paper notes a highly collectible commodity now.
The original first prefix one dollar notes with the “AAA” prefix can now command upwards of $1000.
This one here was graded as EF+ when it was purchased and has an approximate value of around $1250.
The first prefix $2 note with “FAA”, of which only 1 million were printed can reach over $3,000 as can good examples of the first prefix $5 notes bearing the prefix “NAA”. Ebay continues to be a reasonable source of older notes but to be guaranteed absolute precision in the grading of the notes you purchase and then acquiring them from a recognised member of the Australasian Numismatic Dealer’s Association (ANDA) which is the professional body representing individuals and businesses that deal in rare coins & banknotes throughout Australasia, gives you the upper edge.
Notes which have a high number of 0’s at the beginning of the serial number are also recognised to be worth more as they are closer to the start of the print run. So a very low serial such as 000025 would be worth somewhat more than a note with 450025. The special and unique number of 1000000 is also highly prized as only one occurs in each print run exceeding a million notes. A very rare Coombs Randall $5 bearing the serial NAF1000000 sold recently for $37,500. The kind of banknote we all hope Grandma has tucked away somewhere for a rainy day.
Star notes or star replacement notes as they are called are a great collectible in any condition. Lower grades can recognise prices in the 100’s where better condition notes from say the Coombs Randall era will see valuations over $25,000. Specimen notes are another highly prized collectible but are a great deal harder to procure. John Petit a Sydney based dealer was reputed to have sold a $100 Type 4 Specimen recently for over $45,000. It really starts one to thinking about the benefits of note collecting over those of a regular superannuation fund.
Undoubtedly the Coombs / Randall notes of 1966, in any denomination are the ones to be on the lookout for given their low print runs. The last prefix 1966 XBS $20 dollar note only realized 200,000 in total and as such is listed at around $5,500 currently. Pictured here below is a First Prefix 1967 Coombs Randall $20 note which has a catalogue value over $11,000.
Some coins produced by both the Perth Mint as well as the Royal Australian Mint have seen incredible gains in the last few years. Notably the 2012 Crux Southern sky with its release price of AUD$120 which 2 short years later is getting bids over AUD$800. The following 2 coins in the series from 2013 and 2014 had the Pavo and Orion constellations. Both are doing well investment wise but not so strongly as the first release Southern Cross. Maybe the Southern Cross was an exception to the rule given its unique status as Australia’s first ever domed come but it still highlights the incredible value that people place on these beautifully struck coins. The 2012 Kookaburra on the map shaped coin was also a great runner, stacking on almost 100% of its original price in a year. In general no mints in the world see gains anything like those experienced in Australia and occasionally New Zealand and their stunning high quality releases year in year out.
The recent Disney and Friends series, struck by Perth Mint under licence to The New Zealand Mint on behalf of Niue island, saw extraordinary sales on the release of certain coins. The gold version of Donald Duck sold out in a record 10 minutes and in the first week 9,700 of the available 10,000 silver coins sold. Yes, they are iconic coins and the figures portrayed such as Mickey Mouse, Donald duck and Minnie Mouse are all sure to do very well indeed. Who around the world does not instantly recognise them.
Overall Australian investment banknotes continue hold a strong investment potential and have been recognised in more recent times as a better investment than fine wine, property and taxi plates. Personally I find the entire spectrum of variance in numismatics, especially those associated with Australian coins and banknotes to be a wonderful hobby and more over a great way to personally manage my own retirement fund.
The single most important tools one can get to keep and eye on the market are the most recent copies of both Renniks Coin and Banknote Values book, one of Australia’s best known reference books for Coin and banknote values and the Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes by Greg McDonald. both of these publications will certainly put you on the right footing for making solid informed decisions in your purchases. These publishers also release book on predecimal coins, tokens and other rarities if this is where your interest in Oceania numismatics lies.
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