Home » Shop » 1890 – Mercantile Bank of Australia Cheque – Ballarat Victoria

1890 – Mercantile Bank of Australia Cheque – Ballarat Victoria

$55.00 AUD

Availability: 1 in stock

SKU: BCBALLARAT1890-1E Category:

On offer here is great condition cheque from a bank which no longer exists.

At over 120 years old it is a lovely piece of Australian history that shows little wear for its age.

The cheque is missing the lower right hand corner and also shows some ink smear and a little grime from handling.

Issued by the Mercantile Bank of Australia it is a postdated check for payment 6 months later to one Andrew Austin from one James Baldwin for the sum of 15 pounds and 16 shillings.



Central banking came much later in Australia than in those more advanced industrial economies and its initial purposes were very different from those that shaped the character of the older central banks. Here, no bank had naturally evolved as a central bank able to provide a stabilising role. Commercial banks, known colloquially as trading banks, competed rather than cooperated in the nineteenth century. No bank acquired a strength or specialisation of function that would set it apart from the rest. Governments shared their banking business amongst all the banks, and banks issued their own bank notes. The fragility of the system without a central bank was shown in stark relief in the 1890s, when nearly all the land banks and building societies, and 12 of the 22 trading banks shut their doors after the collapse of an intense property boom. Depositors lost confidence in the safety of all banks, strong and weak alike, and rushed to withdraw their gold. There was no institution of any stature able to step in and support those banks whose business was sound. There were bank collapses in almost every decade of the 19th century. The climax came in 1893 after the failure of fraudulent land banks in Victoria triggered a wholesale run on banks. In the space of six weeks, 12 banks closed their doors. Those banks accounted for two-thirds of the total banking assets in Australia.


Ballarat was often refered to as ,”The Golden City” and was reknowned for its vast riches during the goldrush of the 1850’s and 60’s. This cheque represents a unique piece of the later outcome of the riches from that historical era and as such is very much sought after by collectors.

A Time In Australian History When:

26 April – Banjo Patterson’s The Man from Snowy River is published.

1 January – The University of Tasmania opens

28 February – The steamship RMS Quetta sinks off Cape York Peninsula, killing 133

29 December – Sir John Forrest becomes the Premier of Western Australia and the first Premier in Australia.

9 November – James Boag I, brewer dies (born 1822)

*All additional history taken from Wikipedia for educational purposes only.

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