National Bank of Australasia (Melbourne) 1881 50 Pounds
Unissued Specimen Note
MVR# 4 Uncirculated
Serials: 000001 - 001000
One of just two specimens of this denomination known from this bank.
The National Bank of Australasia (NBA) was formed by a group of Melbourne businessmen in October 1857. The bank's stated aims were "...to financially assist merchants, traders, manufacturers, settlers, agriculturists and miners, as well as any other of the industrial classes."
Like so many others, the NBA suspended trading following the land speculation boom and bust in 1893. Several mergers over the next century later, the NBA is now not only one of Australia's largest banks, but also one of it's largest companies. (Fifth largest as at May 2018).
The notes of the NBA are among the most prolific in the entire Australian pre-federation note series, and feature some of the most attractive designs.
The notes of the NBA differ by state - while the designs remain largely the same regardless of which colony or state the note was issued in, each different state was identified not only by a notation of the domicile (either by the state or city of issue), but also by a different female figure personifying that state.
This unissued specimen note is one of just two from this bank (from any period and on any domicile) that has been recorded in private hands to date, which is quite remarkable given the size of the bank, and the number of lower-denomination specimens known. The other specimen comparable to this one has not been sighted for quite some time.
The exponentially greater rarity of the proofs and specimens of the higher denominations is explained by the fact they were printed far less frequently than those for the lower denominations. For example, a bank may issue a series of £1 notes 3 - 4 times each year from a particular domicile (town, city, state or region), whereas they may only issue one batch of a higher denomination such as a £10 once every 12 - 18 months. Print runs of the highest denominations (£50 and £100) may have occurred as infrequently as every other year.
This particular specimen note has been printed on paper characteristic of the period - it is literally paper-thin. Unlike most Bradbury Wilkinson specimens from this period however, this note is devoid of any pinholes, flicks or folds.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a truly high-denomination specimen note representing one of Australia's largest banks.
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