Western Australian Bank (Perth) 1906 10 Pounds Unissued Specimen Note
MVR# 3c Uncirculated
It’s been a very long time since one of these have been seen at auction in Australia.
The Western Australian Bank (WAB) was established under a deed of settlement in Perth on June 23rd 1841 by a small number of influential pastoralists and merchants in the Swan River Colony that were shareholders in the Bank of Western Australia (BWA).
The first directors of the WAB included George Shenton Senior and Edward Hamersley Senior.
These shareholders were dissatisfied with a majority decision by the BWA board to have the BWA’s operations absorbed into the Bank of Australasia, and so chose to establish the Western Australian Bank in competition with the Bank of Australasia.
The first Cashier of the WAB was Richard Wells, and as the the population of Perth was only 2,760 people in 1841, Wells was in fact the only staff member needed to conduct the bank's operations.
The first branch of the Western Australian Bank was located at the Eastern side of the intersection of St Georges Terrace and Pier Street - now the location of St Andrew’s (Uniting) Church.
The new WA Bank received strong support from local depositors, and was in fact so successful that it forced the withdrawal of the Bank of Australasia from the WA market in 1845.
The bank’s business was entirely based in WA, perhaps for this reason it was one of the very few banks in Australia that did not suspend during the 1893 financial crisis.
An article in the Argus newspaper in Melbourne announced on January 28th 1927 that the Western Australian Bank had been absorbed by the Bank of New South Wales for a sum of £1,900,000.
At that time, the WA bank had 84 branches and sub-branches in Western Australia.
Amalgamation with the Bank of New South Wales was complete by March 29th, 1927, bringing with it the end of a local institution “that had so long identified with the life and fortunes of this state.”
The higher denominations in the pre-federation series (£10 ~ £100) are undoubtedly rarer than the lower denominations (£1 and £5), however perhaps not for the reasons you first might think.
Internal procedures meant that the banknote printing companies of this era would print and retain the exact same number of proofs and specimens for each and every note that they printed,
The exponentially greater rarity of the proofs and specimens of the higher denominations is that 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.
That certainly seems to be the case for the WAB - this is the first unissued specimen £10 note from this bank we have handled for at least 5 years. In that same period of time, we have handled 3 £1 specimen notes, and 1 £5 specimen note.
This particular example remains in superb quality - it has crisp and natural paper, and is devoid of any flicks or folds.
It is an excellent example that is sure to stand the test of time.
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