Commercial Bank of Sydney 1907 1 Pound Issued Note MVR# 5b Fine
Front: Female figure at left, Captain Cook at right
Back: CBC headquarters within medallion at left, Sydney Harbour scene within medallion at right
Reference: MVR# 5b Fine | Serials: G768659
This is a truly rare issued note from one of Australia's largest banks at the turn of the 20th century.
The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney was established way back in 1834 and is one of the earliest banks established in Australia.
The bank's operations in its first few decades of existence were restricted to New South Wales. After a restructuring between 1848 and 1854, branches were then opened in London, Brisbane and elsewhere.
Like so many other banks, the CBC of Sydney was greatly affected by the banking crisis of 1893. The bank's doors were closed in the middle of May and re-opened around a month later.
The CBC of Sydney's market share was such that its notes accounted for approximately 14% of all of the pre-federation notes that were circulating in Australia at the end of 1910.
Following the introduction of the Commonwealth notes in 1913, the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney amalgamated with the Bank of Victoria in 1927, and then the National Bank of Australasia in 1981. The final name for the merged entity became "National Australia Bank" in 1983.
This particular specimen note is classified as Type 5b by Mick Vort-Ronald - it has:
- The term "Limited" was added to the front of the note; and
- All wording and denomination figures were removed from the back of the note.
The note features a green simultan print, with the serials printed in black.
A female figure appears in a panel on the front left-hand side - she is holding a caduceus and a shield, which leads me to believe she is intended to be the personification of peace or concord.
Captain Cook features in a panel on the front right-hand side, the man regarded by many as being "The Father of Australia".
The reverse of the note shows the CBC of Sydney headquarters building on the left and a scene of Sydney Harbour.
Far Rarer As An Issued Note
Unlike the unissued specimen notes that are often seen on the market (we have one in stock ourselves at present), this particular note was actually issued and used as money.
Evidence of that is seen in the signatures and written date on the front of the note.
For an issued note that is more than a century old, it remains in excellent condition - although the note was clearly in circulation for a period of time, it doesn't have any of the problems that so many issued pre-fed notes have.
The paper remains firm and original and doesn't have any tears, holes or fraying. The edges of the note are toned, which indicates to me that the note hasn't been trimmed or tampered with in any way. The margins remain reasonably white on the front, the reverse of the note has toned with dirt and age.
The black stain that you see on the lower right of the note on the reverse is simply the ink from the manager's signature coming through from the front of the note. (This gentleman clearly wrote with a firm hand!)
My investigation into auction records for issued notes from this bank shows me that only 22 such notes have been recorded to exist. Of that number, only perhaps 3-4 notes are in better condition than this one - most have been graded as Very Good, indicating they most likely have edge tears; nicks; stains or other impediments to their condition.
It is an intact and problem-free note issued by one of Australia's largest banks at the turn of the 20th century.
Such notes have been priced out of the league of most collectors for many decades, they are now at a level that they can be purchased as an affordable representation of this important chapter in our economic and numismatic history.
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