Australia 1966 Type 2 Twenty Dollar Specimen Note Coombs / Wilson R#401 Uncirculated
Front: Kingsford Smith at right
Back: Lawrence Hargrave at left
This note is exponentially rarer than the Type I specimen of the same denomination.
Any collector of Australian paper specimen notes is aware that the Type 2 specimens are incredibly hard to come by.
The rarity of this note bears that hunch out - this is just the third Type 2 specimen $20 in UNC condition that has been seen since the mid 1980s. (Yes, nearly four decades!)
During that same period of time, no less than 43 Type 1 specimen $20 notes have been offered for sale via auction.
The reason for that very wide divergence in availability lies in the purpose that the different specimens had - the Type I specimen notes were printed and released to mark the switch to decimal currency, whereas the esteemed banknote researcher Mick Vort Ronald states that the Type 2 series of specimen notes (that were printed at largely the same time):
"...were sent from the Head Office of the Reserve Bank to other Central Banks. Some sets were given to overseas embassies as display pieces for the benefit of intending migrants, and some museums and an art gallery also received this type."
A comparable note to this one sold via auction for $44,850 back in May 2007, while a Type I specimen $20 note made $13,000 through auction just a few months earlier.
Type I's have come back to about $3,000 since then - a drop of about 75%. 25% of the peak value for the Type 2 specimen is still around $11,000 - far higher than the level Type 2 specimen notes are bringing at the moment.
In my observation, the majority of the Type 2 specimen notes available to collectors today have impediments of some kind - the paper is creased or there is obvious evidence of the notes being glued onto some kind of backing board.
Importantly, this particular example has crisp and original paper, sharp edges, and corners all the way around.
This is an extremely rare and well-priced specimen note, one for the buyer with an eye on long-term value.
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