Australia 1910 Superscribed One Pound Note (London Bank of Australia) R# S45about Fine
Host Form: London Bank of Australia Limited
Superscription Type: Variety C
Signatures: Collins / Allen
Reference Number: R# S45
Quality Grading:about Fine
Ex Stewart Burton collection.
Burton was from Western Australia, his collection was sold via Downie's in March 1980. The auctioneer described it as "outstanding", it contained a number of Commonwealth banknote rarities such as a presentation 10/-; a Rainbow pound; as well as Twenty, Fifty and One Hundred pound notes.
Lot #820, Downie's (Australian Coin Auctions) Auction (March 1980). Hammer: $300, Nett: $300.
Lot #688, Downie's (Australian Coin Auctions) Auction (August 1980). Hammer: $500, Nett: $500.
Lot #575, Downie's (Australian Coin Auctions) Auction 137 (December 1980). Hammer: $525, Nett: $525.
Lot #3055, Noble Numismatics Auction 75 (April 2004). Estimate: $3,500, Hammer: $8,200, Nett: $9,553.
An honest and affordable example of Australia_Ôs very first Commonwealth notes.
Many collectors mistakenly believe that the first banknotes issued by Australia's Commonwealth Government were the ten shilling notes printed in 1913. That is certainly not the case, as the superscribed series of notes were issued by the Commonwealth Treasury from October 1910.
The Commonwealth Treasury assumed control over Australia's circulating currency following years of criticism by the Labour Party of the free-market financial system. In Labour's opinion, the private banks"... were too vulnerable to collapse, that the banks were profiteering, and that their lending practices tended to be pro-cyclical (excessive in an upswing and too restrictionist in a slump)._� [Bell; Stephen, "Australia's Money Mandarins: The Reserve Bank and the Politics of Money", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, p 7.]
Within 90 days of being voted in, Andrew Fisher_Ôs second Labour government passed two Acts that gave the Commonwealth a monopoly over the issue of notes in Australia. Once the relevant acts of legislation were passed, the public service moved quickly to bring national banknotes into reality. As can be imagined, a new national currency at the very least requires specialized printing machinery, as well as other planks of infrastructure, none of which the Commonwealth Government had ready access to at that time.
These significant challenges were apparently dismissed out of hand by Treasury officials - rather than go to the time and expense of designing and printing the new notes from scratch (a project that would have taken several years at least to complete successfully), Treasury officials were instead quite prepared to __overprint_� existing banknotes - to superimpose an official design, endorsement and denomination on banknotes that had already been printed by a private bank.
Australia's first Commonwealth notes were printed from October 1910 and were issued from December 1910 - the note forms from no less than 17 different banks were used. By April 1912, the Commonwealth Treasury was aware that this wide range of different superscribed note designs increased the risk that counterfeit notes might enter circulation. To mitigate that risk, Treasury chose to use only the forms of the National Bank after that date:"...it has been decided by the Treasury that for the future and until the Commonwealth is in a position to employ its own special paper and dies, to use none but the notes bearing the name of the National Bank of Australasia."
By May 1913, the Commonwealth Government had the necessary printing equipment, supplies and expertise to print Australia's first uniform series of notes, which meant that the circulating superscribed notes could be retired with full confidence that they would be promptly replaced in circulation. The last superscribed notes were issued into circulation in April 1914, and were actively withdrawn from circulation after that.
They remain to this day Australia's first national currency notes, with an irreplaceable history.
44 superscribed one pound notes have been seen at auction in the past five years, 21 of those were part of the famed Caldwell Collection of Australian banknotes - arguably the second most comprehensive collection of these historic notes ever formed.
Of the 44 notes offered for sale via auction over the past 5 years, the vast majority have had obvious impairments such as holes, tears, stains or paper separation.
Apart from one tear in the right hand edge, this particular superscribed one pound note remains fully intact, which is just remarkable when we consider the age of the note and the extent to which it would have circulated throughout World War I.
A previous owner has made an attempt to limit the tear by placing tape over that section of the back of the note.
The border areas are lightly toned, which is quite acceptable for a note of this quality.
Examination under a strong light shows us that the paper is devoid of any pinholes or inner paper separation.
This is a solid and rare example of Australia's first national currency notes.
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