Australian Specimen Banknotes Book by Mick Vort Ronald
This is the definitive guide to market activity for Australian specimen banknotes.
Specimen banknotes are a specific type of banknote produced by issuing authorities around the world whenever there is a significant change to a nation's legal tender.
Well before the first print run of notes intended for circulation is commenced, a very small batch of notes is printed and marked with a special printed or perforated cancellation of some sort – these notes are then retained and distributed for archival, communication or presentation purposes.
It has been standard practice for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to keep a certain number of these specimen notes for Australia's National Currency Museum in Martin Place (Sydney, NSW).
The main focus of this museum is to showcase each major change to Australia's circulating legal tender, the entire display is solely comprised of specimen banknotes.
Specimen banknotes are distributed to other organizations for archival and record purposes, either within or outside Australia. Specimen banknotes are held by the Australian National Archives in Canberra, as well as other public institutions around the country and overseas. Such notes are very seldom on display to the general public.
Specimen banknotes perform a vital role in informing senior figures in central banks around the world of changes to the designs on Australia's circulating legal tender notes. More importantly, such notes are also used in informing staff in the Australian retail banking sector of changes to Australia's legal tender notes.
Finally, Australian specimen banknotes have also been presented to “a very restricted list of prominent persons.”
Such prominent persons can include heads of state; the nation's most senior politicians and public servants; the artists and others closely involved with the design of the notes; members of the design advisory panel; members of the Reserve Bank Board as well as other senior public servants at the Reserve Bank.
When a particular specimen note becomes available, a collector can ask themselves one or several of the following questions:
How has this banknote been graded previously?
What did it sell for previously?
Has it previously been included in a "named" or famous collection?
What have comparable notes sold for lately?
What were comparable notes selling for 5 years ago?
Until recently, the ability to answer questions such as these required a personal database of auction catalogues painstakingly built up over a period of time. Such a resource will not only take decades to build (and can be impossible to build retrospectively), but it can also be incredibly expensive.
The good news is that Mick Vort-Ronald has kept meticulous records on the auction sales of Australian banknotes for several decades now, leaving us with a perfect resource that can be used to look up pretty much any Australian pre-decimal banknote, as well as many scarcer decimal banknotes.
These books allow the advanced collector of Australian banknotes to quantify the rarity of the notes they have an interest in, and to see what pattern of activity they have been part of over an extended period of time.
If you have an interest in acquiring even just one Australian specimen banknote, this book is an excellent resource worth its weight in gold, one that will prove its value time and again.
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