1923 One Pound Miller/Collins R22aL Extremely Fine
Serials: K 658892
Provenance: Ex John Wilson Collection; Spink Australia Sale 27 (lot 1324) and Spink Australia Sale 31 (lot 1281).
On the 6th of June in 1923, the first of Australia’s new “Harrison” or “gold-bearing” series banknotes were issued into circulation.
Shortly after the notes were released, Treasury decided to alter the design of the front of the note very slightly by removing the name of the person responsible for engraving the printing plates. Unfortunately, the general public wasn’t informed of this minor change, and there was something of a panic - many folks simply refused to accept them.
Research by the eminent numismatist Dr Alan Nicholson has shown that at the same time Treasury decided upon this change, they had also identified a potential problem - some of the serial numbers being used on the new notes had actually already been used on the Type I Superscribed £1 notes that had been issued between 1910 and 1914.
This situation had the potential to hinder the identification of potential forgeries, as the format used in the serials on both types of note was one letter as a prefix, with six digits in the number.
It was Nicholson’s theory that once Treasury officials became aware of this duplication in serials, all of the new “Harrison” series £1 notes were quickly withdrawn; destroyed and replaced by notes that had two numbers in the serial prefix.
The note we offer here was clearly among the very first “Harrison” series notes ever issued – it features the “T.S. Harrison” imprint at the base of the front of the note, and there are no numbers in the serial prefix.
Dr Nicholson formed one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Australian banknotes ever seen - he described the R22a as an “excessively rare” note.
In Nicholson's opinion, the R22a was as rare and as historically important as the R18a (the Collins Allen £1 note with red serials) and the R20 (the Emergency "Rainbow" £1 note) - both of those notes are rightly regarded as true icons in the pre-decimal note series.
Nicholson shared his research in 1995, and at the time he stated that he had seen no more than about six unique examples of this note in all his time collecting. Although the latest figures point to there being certainly more than that available, there is little doubt that the R22a remains a true rarity in the pre-decimal note series.
This particular example retains bold and original paper quality - it is crisp and natural. The colours all remain vivid, the edges and corners are all sharp and distinct.
It remains a totally original example of one of Australia's rarest pre-decimal notes.
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