Why Condition and Quality Matters When It Comes to Collecting Australian Banknotes

There are more than 1.6 billion banknotes currently in circulation in Australia, so you would think that it would be relatively easy tcome across a rare banknote.

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple numbers game when it comes to collecting Australian banknotes.

There is a bridge between how rare a banknote is and it’s value. And the gap in the bridge relates to the condition and quality of the banknote.

Banknotes Aren’t Just for Collectors

If banknotes had no other purpose other than as a collector's item, they would naturally lose some of their appeal to even the most staunch collector.

While every collector has a different reason behind their passion for collecting Australian banknotes, for many it is the desire to have something rare that no one else has.

With each pair of hands that a banknote passes through, there is a risk of damage to the banknote by way of tears, folds or marks.

Given that the majority of the 1.6 billion banknotes in circulation are passing through multiple hands each day, they almost always show at least some signs of having been used. 

The nature of banknotes both adds to the appeal and challenge of them as a collector's item.

A Mint Condition $1 Note
A Mint Condition $1 Note

The Appeal of Mint Condition

If a banknote shows no signs of use and still looks the same as the day it left the mint, it is described as being in Uncirculated or "mint" condition. 

The closer a rare banknote is to mint condition, the more valuable it is.

The importance of condition is not something that we can overemphasise.

A collector new to collecting Australian banknotes may not yet realise just how important it is… but when it comes time to sell there will be no doubt in their mind that condition is king. 

The condition or quality of the item can tell as much of a story as the banknote itself. And that story can be just as appealing to collectors as any other aspect of the value of the note.

For older banknotes that may be a story of foresight and discipline through many generations of a family. It may be a story of good management. Or, on very rare occasions, it could be a story of chance. 

So what is it that makes a mint condition banknote more valuable than a damaged banknote? The answer is that it comes down to the collector.

For some collectors, adding mint condition items to their collection is about a desire for items that look beautiful or because they are subliminally drawn to the respective previous owners have had for the item. 

The Very First $1 Note I Earned
The Very First $1 Note I Earned

When Quality Doesn’t Matter

It is true that a banknote in mint condition has a vaule greater than face value. But value is not always monetary.

Sometimes the value is about sentimentality or it is the story behind a banknote which makes it attractive to a collector. Remembering the story the very first $1 note I earned still makes me proud, no matter how lousy the actual note looks.

Every collector also has a different minimum standard when it comes to quality.

Some value rarity over quality, while others will only consider banknotes in mint condition, regardless of any other factors. 

If the financial value of your collection is even a modest factor in your motivation for collecting Australian banknotes, then quality does matter.

The greater your financial motivations, the more the condition and quality of your collection will become a factor. 

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