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One Hundred Pound Banknote 1914-1945

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While the £1,000 pound note only exists as a few cancelled examples on the numismatic market, the Hundred Pound Notes have from time to time turned up in auctions.
On May 31 1945, it was declared that ‘from August 31 1945 that all notes above £10 would not be legal tender’. In 1950 there were still 745 notes recorded as being in circulation. As the years have gone by, these numbers have steadily declined. That is until in 1985, forty years after the last date of issue, there are ‘officially’ no longer any such notes left in circulation. The first One Hundred Pound Note was issued in 1914 and the last new £100 note entered circulation in 1945.

Printed in blue intaglio, the note states that “The Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia Promises to the Bearer ONE HUNDRED POUNDS in gold coin on Demand at the Commonwealth Treasury at the Seat of Government.”

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To the left of the front of the note is a panel depicting the Australian Coat of Arms and at the top a small ‘100’ and larger ‘100’ below the arms. The back of the note depicts vignettes of waterfalls the left is that of the Upper Yarra River in Victoria and to the right ‘Leura Falls” in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

The one and only issued type note was delivered to the Treasury and issued from February 1914, with the signatures of James Richard Collins – Assistant Secretary, and George Thomas Allen – Secretary to the Treasury. The first variety has the signatures in blue, a Z prefix and small blue seriffed serial numbers in the range Z000001 to at least Z 047964, these numbers being taken from known existing notes (48,000+). There are only two specimens of this note known to exist. One in the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the other in the Mitchell Library in Sydney NSW.

The second variety of this signature combination has medium sized black seriffed serial numbers with a bold Z prefix. The serial numbers known for this variety are Z 091301 to Z 105260. Research has found that notes up to Z114840 were delivered to the Note Issue Branch on March 21 1921. The highest serial number seen is Z105260 making a total printed of 24,000+. Only one example of this variety is known to exist in private hands. This note was offered at a Spink auction in March 1987 and sold for $42,000. The only other notes of this variety known are in Bank and Museum collections.

The second signature combination of the £100 note is that of Charles John Cerutty & James Richard Collins. Printed in blue ink, the first notes were delivered to the Note Issue Branch on March 24 1924 and the last on April 23 1924. The first variety of these notes has a Z suffix and bold serial numbers ranging from 114841 Z to 315550 Z with 200710 notes printed. Some eight notes have been offered at auction over a twenty year period
The second variety of this signature combination has a medium, black seriffed, serial number and a large bold Z prefix. Serial numbers range from Z 315551 to Z 553000

The last of these £100 notes were issued on July 17 1944, with a total of 237,450 notes printed. Only some 12 notes of this variety have been offered on the market in the period 1977 to 1999.

An unissued £100 note was prepared in 1939, designed to supplement earlier issues of this denomination, an unknown number of notes were produced but were not required, and all supplies except for a few specimens were destroyed. This brown note with a central oval portrait of George VI has a blank circle for watermark of Captain Cook at left, and on the right a circle with wreath enclosing the Australian coat of arms. The figure 100 is featured at the bottom left and right of note, while the top left and right has a larger figure of £100. The text ‘COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA is over the portrait, and covering either side of portrait is the legal tender clause” This Note is legal tender for ONE HUNDRED POUNDS in the Commonwealth and in all territories under the control of the Commonwealth”
The signatures are those of Harold John Sheehan, Governor Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Stuart Gordon McFarlane, Secretary to the Treasury. Serial numbers are Z over a 0 prefix, and a six-digit serial number.
The back of the note shows a central panel depicting Dairying which shows a man milking a cow, a woman carrying eggs in a basket, and a man with a yoke carrying a bucket. A calf, fowls and geese are in the foreground. It is stated that during 1958 all supplies of this note were destroyed except for a few specimens now held by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The Right Note – Copyright 2003