National Bank of Australasia (Melbourne) Ten Pounds 1891 Unissued Specimen Note
Reference Number: MVR# 4m | Grade: about Unc | Serial Numbers: 005001 - 010000
Front: Female personification at left, denomination at the centre; right and in each corner
Back: Denomination in each corner
This high-value pre-Federation note was issued prior to the major banking disaster of 1893.
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."
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.
Although one online source states that "Western Australian notes show a more buxom female resting her arms on the head of an axe", it doesn't matter how many beers I have, I simply can't see the level of detail that author was referring to...
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 its largest companies. (5th as of August 2021)
The exponentially greater rarity of the proofs and specimens of the higher denominations is a result of them being 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.
While it can fairly be said that prices for notes in the Australian pre-federation note series became somewhat disconnected leading up to 2012, now that supply and demand is evenly spread throughout the market (in Australia and across the world), these notes are now trading at levels that informed collectors see as being solid value for money.
This particular specimen note has been printed on the paper characteristic of the period - it is literally paper-thin. It remains in superb quality - it has crisp and natural paper and has just two flicks or folds in the top left and bottom right corners respectively.
It is an excellent example that is sure to stand the test of time.
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