Why Consecutive Serial Number Banknotes Don't Matter

Imagine your good fortune when you go to an ATM and end up with a stack of crisp $20 notes in your hand. As any keen collector would, you check the serial numbers. One by one, your pulse starts to quicken as you realise you have found yourself a set of consecutive serial number banknotes. 

Unfortunately, while the banknotes you have stumbled on are interesting, there is a very low chance of them being valuable.

Why Don’t They Matter?

In the case of $20 banknotes, as at June 2020 there are 182 million notes in circulation. If you came across a set of consecutive serial number banknotes in a higher denomination the number of notes in circulation is even higher - 404 million for $100 notes and 873 million for $50 notes.

That is a significant volume of possible consecutive serial numbers you may come across.

While some Australian banknotes are rare, the reality is that most are not. So while you may feel like you’ve hit the jackpot with your find, for someone who works in cash handling, consecutive serial numbers are all in a day’s work.

Unless the serial numbers you have found include rare prefixes and are in mint condition, they are not worth much more than their face value.

A First Prefix $50 Note
A First Prefix $50 Note

What Does Matter?

In the world of collecting, the rarer a find, generally speaking, the more value it holds. And that holds true for collecting Australian banknotes. Collectors will pay a premium for something rare that no one else has.


A Last Prefix $50 Note
A Last Prefix $50 Note

If you think of it in non-collecting terms, a football jersey signed by the team is more valuable than an unsigned jersey. If that team goes on to win the premiership that year, that jersey would increase in value again. Paying a premium to have special access to something rare or valuable is nothing unusual. Think of how you would pay more for first class flights or front row concert tickets with a backstage pass to meet the band.

When it comes to banknotes, rare serial numbers or rare first and last prefix banknotes are much more valuable than consecutive serial number banknotes, particularly if those rare notes are in mint condition.

Consecutive Run of 10 Notes
Consecutive Run of 1988 $10 Polymer Notes

Our Advice - Trade A Consecutive Run for A Single Example of a Rare Banknote

If you've come across a consecutive run of Australian banknotes and have thought to set them aside so they grow in value, our advice is to trade them towards the value of a single example of a rare banknote, the future value will be far greater if you do.


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