Town and Country Bank (Adelaide) 1885 Five Pound Unissued Specimen Note MVR# 2 Uncirculated
Serials: A 05001 ~ A 07000
Front: Female figure at centre, denomination in each corner
Back: Denomination within a triangle, text in German
This Australian banknote has text in German on the back.
The Town and Country Bank operated in South Australia between 1881 and 1886, it was established by a group of merchants and shopkeepers based in Adelaide.
The bank opened for business with premises in the Adelaide Town Hall Buildings on December 1st 1881.
In the months and years that followed, branches were opened on Rundle Street and in Parkside ( Adelaide); Yongala (rural SA) as well as in Palmerston (now known as Darwin); Silverton (NSW); Birdsville (Queensland) and in London.
In 1885, South Australia's main agricultural and mining businesses were heavily affected by falls in the world price of copper and widespread drought. The resulting bad debt problems affected each of the trading banks that were based in Adelaide.
The Commercial Bank of South Australia folded in February 1886, the Town and Country Bank followed suit in November 1886.
In a letter written in May 1887 that explained the causes of the collapse, the Manager advised that "...securities of all kinds have dropped heavily in value, in most cases to one-half of that of four years ago. Many are absolutely unrealisable, leases and second mortgages are in most instances worthless as securities..."
The German text on the back of the note speaks to the relatively large expat German population that had settled in regional South Australia between 1838 and 1888. That population was large enough to support a German-language newspaper from the mid-1840's, and were clearly significant enough from a commercial perspective to warrant German text on the back of the note.
This note remains a proud testament to the South Australian businessmen that banded together in the late 19th century to stimulate and facilitate business in their isolated colony.
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