Western Australian Bank (Perth) 1897 1 Pound Issued Note MVR# 3c good EF
Serials: D 246007
Western Australian Bank archives (1910 ~ 1927)
Bank of New South Wales / Westpac Archives (1927 - ca 1985)
Lot #4540, Noble Numismatics Auction 93 (April 2010). Estimate: $15,000, Hammer: $30,000, Nett: $34,950.
Lot #978, Roxbury's Auction 92 (October 2014). Estimate: $9,000, Hammer: $12,500, Nett: $15,000.
Rated as amongst the finest quality of all pre-federation notes, divested from the Western Australian Bank's own archives.
It is difficult to hold a banknote from the Western Australian Bank and not be taken back to the era it was issued in.
These large notes, with their intricate designs, calligraphed signatures and firm but undoubtedly fragile paper quality are objects of wealth unique to this part of the world, and evoke a long-distant era of formality and discipline. The Western Australian Bank merged with the Bank of New South Wales in 1927, and at it’s peak it was widely regarded as the most important commercial enterprise in Western Australia, one that “…had done more to assist in the development of mining in this state than nearly the whole of the other financial institutions combined.”
The quality of a very small number of notes issued by the Western Australian Bank are regarded as among the finest Australian banknotes issued prior to Federation in any denomination, from any bank, in any part of Australia. They embody the drive to capture the abundant natural wealth in Australia’s western third, and are a reminder of a time when the leading financial institution in this part of our nation was founded, run and patronised by the people that lived and worked here.
This particular note is one of perhaps six issued notes from the Western Australian Bank that remain in excellent quality today.
At least 3 or 4 of these notes (this note among them) were originally retained by the Western Australian Bank for their archives after the Commonwealth Government assumed authority over Australia’s note issue in 1910.
The Western Australian Bank amalgamated with the Bank of New South Wales in 1927, and the archives of the Western Australian Bank were transferred to the archives of the Bank of New South Wales in the years that followed.
The Bank of New South Wales merged with the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1982, the merged entity was named Westpac Banking Corporation. The Westpac Museum was established at the current site in the mid 1980’s, it is understood that a number of items were divested from the Bank’s archives in order to fund acquisitions of other items. Today, the Westpac Museum is located at Playfair Street in the Rocks, it houses a display that “traces the history of banking from as early as Australia's colonisation in 1788, to current day banking and finance trends.”
Not only do these notes from the Western Australian Bank remain in incredible quality relative to nearly all the other Australian banknotes issued prior to 1910, they have an impeccable provenance.
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