Bank of South Australia (Adelaide) 1882 20 Pounds Unissued Specimen Note MVR# 3a Uncirculated
Reference Number: MVR# 3a
Serials: S 001501 ~ S 007500
One of perhaps 5 known of this denomination from this bank, in superb quality to boot.
According to Wikipedia, the Bank of South Australia is "...the largest financial institution in South Australia and the state's largest home lender."
This bank has no relationship at all to the Bank of South Australia that issued these notes - the first Bank of South Australia was absorbed by the Union Bank of Australia in 1892, and was formally dissolved in 1899.
The original Bank of South Australia was formed around 1836 - the bank first did business in a tent on the beach at Glenelg, and moved to premises on North Terrace 3 months later. The Bank moved to premises on King William Street in 1878 - went on to become the South Australian state office for the Union Bank of Australia, and the same for ANZ Bank. The building was bought by the South Australian State Government, and currently houses the Migrant Resource Centre.
The Bank had 30 offices and was known to have been "heavily encumbered by frozen loans" by 1887. In addition to the woes it had in South Australia, by the early 1890's, the Melbourne branch of the Bank of SA was lending funds for use in land speculation - an incredibly popular but risky proposition at that time.
One of the clients of the Bank of South Australia at this time was a Mr James Clarke, whose business "The Imperial Banking Company" owed the Bank of South Australia some £92,000. These funds were used to purchase land from Mr Clarke (himself a repeat bankrupt, and someone that might be termed today as "a colourful banking identity").
As a result of the failed loans to the Imperial Banking Company, the Bank of South Australia was absorbed by the Union Bank of Australia in 1892.
Although the Bank of South Australia ended in somewhat disappointing circumstances, it was undeniably one of South Australia's earliest banks, and played a key role in South Australia's economic development.
This particular specimen note remains in excellent condition - it has no significant creases or bends at all.
It remains a superb heirloom of South Australia's economic history, and was printed many years before the bank's officers decided to do away with half a century's prudence, and become involved in one of the biggest speculative booms in Australian history.
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