PCGS Professional Grading & Authentication of Rare Australian Coinage

Member: The Right Note-PCGS Platinum Membership

From the Desk
Richard Edward Fahy

numismatic association australia
Member: Numismatic Association Australia

I address my letter to all current and potential clients of RE Fahy Pty Ltd, trading as The Right Note (TRN). Collectors that purchased goods from The Rare Coin Company (in liquidation) should pay particular attention.

The Rare Coin Company (TRCC) trading from 1989 to 2013, trading/selling rare coinage whether Australian or International coinage would issue their coinage for sale with scant regard to international protocol in the sale of these coins. Sold items would be given to the purchaser, in either simple cardboard sleeves, or uncertified Perspex containers, including for rare coinage sometimes valued upwards of $500K. This erratic system of storage/grading from TRCC was intentional.

As either a vendor or purchaser you will find Australian numismatic dealers, clinging to the belief they may sell rare coinage without correct provenance. They are wrong! I had established this business in 1995 with a view of making a change. This is the first step to enable both vendor and purchaser to know their legal rights.

For many clients of TRCC, rare coinage purchases were packaged in cardboard outers, with erroneous certificates according to my research. It is conclusive that clients purchased on trust via monetary trade shows, sight unseen.

As Australia’s leading on line numismatic dealership @ www.therightnote.com.au  all professional research is reviewed. TRN have been involved in the sale of many portfolios created and sold by TRCC since 2014. As time is progressing and we receive more sales inquiries on rare coinage the past inadequacy of rare coin storage and certification has been made clear.

The protection of Australian sales on an international stage of numismatics will only be received when we adopt the international principle of PCGS.

Australian rare coin collectors can rest assured that coins sold and purchased through TRN are genuine and appropriately certified for the value of the coins.

All rare coinage submitted to TRN without grading and authentication by our appointed agent PCGS over a value of $10K, we will not offer for sale.

This decision is entered wisely, protecting the security of the purchaser whilst safeguarding the potential vendor.

From all points view, this will be positive step, with PCGS we can offer you quotations, to send your coins to the USA or to be included in our twice-yearly trips, reducing some insurance costs.

Copyright 2017 © The Right Note Pty Ltd

Australian Numismatic Release-Australian Media Release

From: RE Fahy Pty Ltd-Trading as The Right Note.
Richard E. Fahy. Managing Director.

Subject: Economic Analysts Call of Australia’s One Hundred Dollar banknote to be scrapped.

As Australia’s leading on-line International numismatic dealership @ www.therightnote.com.au established in 1995. I thought it appropriate, to offer my expert opinion on the current debate, on withdrawing the $100.00 from circulation.

The Australian Financial Review reported on the 28th November 2016 with a complete reproduction of that same article in The Guardian on line on the 17th December 2016. That HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank) had backed a report from UBS (United Banking Services-an economic based survey company owned in the USA by major banks*). I am assuming that HSBC had financially backed this report?

Australia to recall polymer 100 dollar noteThis report mentioned – The “HSBC & UBS”, believe that the withdrawal would be good for the Australian economy & “good for the banks”.  Good for banks, not the Australian public! The Australian economy has done well since Federation with an inclusive cash economy of coins, and paper banknotes, with no decline of value since 1910. This is without the mis-guided assistance of like-minded companies, HSBC-UBS* & associated credit card companies. Benefits stated “could”, but not include reduced crime, increased tax revenue, with reduced welfare fraud in Australia. Further on the article rehashes the fairy-tale that people are stuffing $100s under their mattress to avoid tax and rort the pension, The Right Note also addressed that nonsense back in 2012.

*The methodology used in the above article is flawed; with Mr Simon Babbage – “head of payments HSBC” Mr Simon Babbage through HSBC leads the charge of a global financial community. * I do add the UBS is a company based in Switzerland, established to serve the International monetary system; Switzerland is a tax-free environment for economic & accounting survey companies.

Credited to the Australian Financial Review & Mr Simon Babbage of HSBC, stated” removing denominations would be a good thing”, which denominations does he speak of? He certainly mentions no denominations in his interview; he goes on to add this may increase transparency? This certainly is a vague comment, worthy of elaboration.

The Reserve Bank of Australia declined to comment on the UBS/HSBC/Major Australian bank stance with due reason. These high denomination banknotes of $100 & $50 are commercially acceptable and comprise 47% of all cash transactions in Australia, with the other 53% being devoted to $20, $10, and $5 dollar denominations.  Currently there is 70 Billion Australian dollars in circulation (2014 approximation only), with at any given time 47% of these transactions the highest denominations.

The reason for the Reserve Bank of Australia declining comment is for a number of reasons. Australia has the highest level of security of all currency in the world and as the RBA are under Commonwealth statute the RBA cannot comment.

To suggest in the article the RBA declined to comment is erroneous, to create this article based on nothing more than here say.

We go on; in 2012 a former employee of RBA advocated phasing out of high denomination banknotes, the One Hundred & Fifty dollar.

These comments were picked up by Peter Martin writing in the SMH on the 24th September 2012 under the banner “Australian wallet’s stuffed with cash”, if this was not enough on the 25th September 2012 Mr Martin wrote : “The grey economy how retirees rort the pension”.

As Australia’s largest on line International numismatic dealer @ www.therightnote.com.au  I felt it appropriate to offer our comments in 2012 on these articles-please go to attachments.

Why do we have so many $100.00 Banknotes in circulation, let’s go back to the Y2K bug for those that cannot remember or are too young, the year was 2000, The Olympics, & that annoying old bug the Y2K.

The Reserve Bank of Australia made a decision in 1999 to print $100.00. banknotes, in quantity based on information that at midnight on the 1st January 2000 that all data based commerce would not cope with the winding to 00 00 0000.The Y2K was “infectious” not in the literal sense.

If it was not for this beat up, The Reserve Bank of Australia would have rationalised, their printing quantities over 9 years, “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. As opposed to printing 10 years circulated banknotes in 1999. This simply explains the abundance of $100.00. In circulation from 1999 to the present day.

No further $100.00. Banknotes were printed until 2008, during this period there was no increase in “wallets stuffed with cash” or “retirees rorting the pension”. The imagination of Journalists then took hold, and continues to this day, with this article. Its four years since the last time this was raised from vested interests pushing it yet again. The only legitimate reason for removing these notes from circulation is to increase sentiment within the Australian public, to credit card transactions & revenue. The Right Note will gladly add the Australian $50 and $100 banknotes to our list of rare collectables but we aren’t expecting this to happen anytime soon.

Can we imagine Australia a country based on tourism, our second largest industry employing 5 million Australians, reduced to transactions of One Hundred dollars and over, pay by credit card, the things Australian’s, enjoy the sun, surf & city, attracting a 2.5% levy. To enjoy our lifestyle.

Australia relies on paper currency & coinage, in finishing as it is the Silly Season “what better to time to fly a kite”

A very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.


The First Australian Twenty Pound Note

The Twenty-Pound Note was first issued in June 1914. There is only one type of this denomination note with two signature combinations. This £20 note was in use from 1914 until the general withdrawal of high denomination banknotes in 1945. At one time it was suggested that the main use of this denomination was betting with bookmakers at the racetracks of the nation.

The banknote is printed in dark blue intaglio. The top centre of the note states THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA and under that, the words AUSTRALIAN NOTE. The legal tender clause states that “The TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Promises to pay the bearer TWENTY POUNDS in gold coin on demand at the Commonwealth Treasury at the seat of Government” On each side of the note are panels with border patterns. On the left panel in the centre is the Australian coat of arms and the figures 20 are on each corner of the note. Above the legal tender clause there are two panels for the serial numbers separated by a crown. Below the clause is the denomination in figures £ 20 to the left in an ornate panel with the signatures below. Below the border is the imprint T.S.HARRISON, AUSTRALIAN NOTE PRINTER at the centre of the note. The background design of the note is a large TWENTY in the lower half with a shadow in red and a series of 20’s in differing sizes in circles as cross type patterns.

Back of the Australian £20 banknote 1914 to 1938
Back of the Australian £20 banknote 1914 to 1938

The back of the banknote is dark blue intaglio with the major feature being a central circular panel depicting timber cutting on Bruny Island, Tasmania. An ornamental frame surrounds this panel with small 20’s at each upper corner and the words TWENTY POUNDS on each side in the lower corners. The background shading is green in the centre and red on each side. A lack of research meant that initially the scene was believed to have been of Queensland. However, a photograph of timber cutting on Bruny Island, Tasmania that was taken in around 1895 is identical to the engraved vignette. This photograph has been hanging in the offices of the Forestry Department in Hobart for many years.

James Richard Collins – Assistant Secretary, and George Thomas Allen – Secretary to the Treasury signed in blue, the first Twenty pound notes issued in June 1914. The banknotes were issued with a prefix X and small seriffed serial numbers in black. The serial numbers for this signature combination are estimated to be X 000001 to X 040703 from the records of notes delivered to the Treasury. The highest serial number observed has been X 033124.

The second signature combination for this denomination of banknote is Charles John Cerutty – Assistant Secretary, and James Richard Collins – Secretary to the Treasury. As no notes of this denomination were delivered to the Treasury after 1914 until May 9 1917 it is surmised that serial numbers for this issue may be X 040744 to X 167283.

In 1924 the first notes with serial numbers and a suffix X were delivered to the Note Issue branch. They had the same signatures as the previous issue and bold black serial numbers and X suffix numbered from 167284 X to 421500 X. There were 421,500 twenty pound notes printed and only some 380 note remain outstanding. These have been officially written off, as they have not been redeemed with forty years of issue.

The Twenty pound note, in common with the other high denominations, was recalled after the Second World War. This was due to the government’s desire to control, “black marketing, tax evasion, large scale betting and other illicit transactions, and to prevent the hoarding of currency which might otherwise be directed to savings banks or Government Loans.” This was gazetted in May 1945 as a national Security Regulation that stated that after August 31 1945 that denominations of £20 and over would cease to be legal tender. While this regulation never became law it had the effect of uncovering nearly £ 5,700,000 in hoarded currency. At the end of 1945 the following notes remained un-presented: – £20 – 506, £50 – 2,830, £100 – 2,146, and £1,000 – 317.

Originally published in 2003 by Richard E. Fahy – The Right Note. Copyright

Counterfeit Australian Banknotes and Coins

From The Desk of Richard Edward Fahy

Newsletter Number 2/2016.

Date: 1 August 2016.

Subject: Counterfeit Australian Banknotes and Coins


To all valued clients, I write my latest newsletter focusing on counterfeit Australian banknotes & coins. Circa 1911-2014.

My attachments are comical at the very least, as you will soon discover by my description of each counterfeit item presented in this newsletter. There is a clear attempt on the part of the vendor, to on sell these counterfeit items, through registered Australian dealerships, including www.therightnote.com.au Any expert in numismatics knows at first glance these listed counterfeit banknotes and coins are of no commercial value, this does not stop these counterfeits from appearing from time to time, the extremely poor quality of these reproductions, gives rise to my personal point of view, that although counterfeits, if a high reproduction quality pose a potential threat to any market, the vast majority of counterfeits are confined to polymer banknotes, with ancient and early Australian coinage forming the bulk of this illegal market.

Pointing out to my readers most of the counterfeit’s are “so bad they are good”. Comical in the extreme. The” masterminds” behind the scams are only limited by their intelligence, lack of imagination together with their inability, to reproduce simple reproductions, as opposed to forgeries.

The Right Note has accumulated photographs of these banknotes & coins over many years for just such an occasion, as our latest newsletter. With 22 years’ experience on the International numismatic market “we can pick a fake”

Please enjoy our Newsletter number 2/2016, with plate numbers for each photograph. I do stress that no photographs or plate numbers have been knowingly used by any Australian numismatic dealer.

For those readers interested in further researching, forgeries, fakes of Australian currency please go to www.therightnote.com.au.

Please go to our home page, Articles then go to media news-Channel 7 Today Tonight with reporter Mr Paul Makin with a report that I personally presented with C7, & Inspector Brian Hay of The Queensland Fraud Squad, dealing with fakes, forgeries as presented for sale through EBAY, my presence in this article stressed the point that Asian gangs based in China, with representation in Australia, were buying banknotes in low and inferior grades from legal Australian sources, returning these to China, then after a complete process of chemically treating banknotes including washing, bleaching, with ironing the final process, returning these banknotes to E BAY in superior grades for sale. Hopefully these fraudulent practices will end, Australian investors I have a readership of 30 thousand per month act a whole & boycott EBAY

The Asian end of the market cannot complete their forgery tactic due to buying inferior grades of banknotes, they have purchased There will always be repairs, nicks & tears on these banknotes. This Asian cartel has neither had the talent, nor ability to correct these significant faults.

The terminology of ESCOPIC* investigation (copyright RE Fahy Pty Ltd*) meaning through our technology I can produce to all future investors, all repairs, damage, cleaning, trimming before your purchase.

I have written my latest Newsletter in the public interest of all that visit www.therightnote.com.au.  Australia’s largest on line numismatic dealer.


Sincerely yours.

R.E. Fahy

Australia’s Most Asked Question on Decimal Paper Banknotes

The question most asked by email or telephone is, what is my banknote collection worth? With 21 years’ experience we know these questions. These are the most asked questions, it is always interesting to learn the history and current price of your decimal banknote portfolio.

We have solved the problem, an easy and quick calculator for your decimal banknote portfolio.

Take the guesswork out of your portfolio prepared by our Managing Director Mr Richard E Fahy for 2016.

We offer a free service to clients worldwide, enquiries range from the rarest of banknotes issued in Australia and internationally, these banknotes are researched and valued for all clients as part of our complimentary or our paid valuation service.

The most common question we are asked is:

What are the Australian last paper banknotes issued currently worth?

Australian One Dollar Value?

Australian paper banknotes were phased out in 1982 with the commencement of the One Dollar to the end of paper money with the Hundred Dollar in 1996.

The One Dollar with the signature combination of Johnston/Stone was phased out in 1982 to be replaced with the One Dollar Coin.

The Two Dollar with the signature combination of Johnston/Fraser was phased out in 1984, to be replaced with the two dollar coin in that same year.

As these were the first two paper banknotes to be phased out in favor of coinage, The Reserve Bank of Australia instructed Note Printing Australia (supposition) to have a final print run totaling many hundreds of millions of banknotes of each denomination. Well beyond any anticipated public spending of this money & previous printing runs of any decimal paper money.

The expectation was the Australian public would store these banknotes for generations to come looking for a good capital growth. Whether purchased in bundles or multiple numbers the public flocked to the idea. Expectations of collectors could not be based on previous historical fact up to this time on an estimated long term investment return. Therefore there can be no estimation of exactly the final print run of The One Dollar Johnston/Stone or The Two Dollar Johnston Fraser, this information has been withheld by The Reserve Bank for over 25 years.

There was ample notice given in advance well before this change from paper money to coinage by The Reserve Bank through 1982 to 1984. These denominations of One & Two Dollar were placed on the Australian market in bundles of 100 or multiples as requested by the particular bank. To this day the most requested question is how much is my One Dollar or Two Dollar worth?

There are no available figures from online sources or government sources, just how many were printed of all denominations.

We offer to all readers the following phasing out of Australian paper money from 1982 to 1996, their original purchase price, and their current recommended retail price.

All banknotes are quoted in uncirculated grades only. Banknotes below this grade are only worth their face value. Unless otherwise confirmed by a trusted and reputable Australian banknote dealer. www.therightnote.com.au as Australia’s leading on line numismatic dealer should always be your first port of call, 21 years of international numismatics experience, honesty with integrity.

These prices are quoted as recommended retail prices, and not reflective of a wholesale price.

Price Summary: 1st February 2016

Signature Year of Withdrawal Issue Price Recommended Retail
One Dollar Johnston/Stone 1982 $1 $7
Two Dollar Johnston/Fraser 1984 $2 $9
Ten Dollar Fraser/Cole 1991 $5 $60
Twenty Dollar Fraser/Evans 1993 $20 $110
Fifty Dollar Fraser/Evans 1993 $50 $200
One Hundred Dollar Fraser/Cole 1992 $100 $340

Copyright: RE Fahy Pty Ltd Trading as The Right Note. 4/505 Bridge St. Sydney. NSW. 2000.

Copyright 2016. @ The Right Note no reproduction in part or whole can be used without the prior approval of  RE Fahy Pty Ltd.

Any usage will include the Australian trade practices act, this information is protected by such Australian acts C24.5 C 28.5.


Learn to grade polymer banknotes, take the guess work out of your next purchase


POLYMER-NOTESGrading of Polymer Banknotes varies from that of grading Paper Banknotes. The grade or condition of a banknote was a matter of opinion more than an exact science in relation to Paper Banknotes.

Polymer Banknotes becomes more of a science, than opinion for a number of reasons that I will go on to explain.

Australia co-invented the Polymer Banknotes in 1988, with the release of the Ten Dollar Bi-Centennial Banknote; from that time all banknotes issued in Australia have been produced in Polymer.

The introduction of Polymer Banknotes has changed the numismatic market in Australia forever, with wide acceptance from the Australian public.

Polymer Banknotes have many advantages which include a longer shelf life during circulation, harder to counterfeit, with cheaper production costs due to the longer shelf life of the banknotes.

Grading has become easier for both expert and collector alike, and is accurate if the individual understands the basic grading of Polymer Banknotes, and what exactly to look for when grading these banknotes.

Depending on the country of origin there are two types of grading used, these are The British System which uses grades from Uncirculated down to Very Good, this system was adopted in Australia in the late 1970’s. and is currently being used in Australia.

The second system Bramwell Origins System- originated and is currently in use in the USA; this grading system commences with the number 100 for an uncirculated banknote, and then progresses down by Five Points for each tear, crease, and marks on the obverse or reverse side, decreasing to Fine.

Grading Polymer Banknotes.

A Banknote that qualifies as Uncirculated will be a perfect banknote in every way, with no blemishes, folds, flicks or use of any kind. Please let “your eyes be your guide at all times”. If any fault is seen whatsoever this banknote is not uncirculated. Most banknotes to be Uncirculated need to be purchased directly from the direct source-The Reserve Bank at the country of origin.

Almost Uncirculated
A banknote that qualifies as Almost Uncirculated, will be a perfect banknote in every way, with the exception that the banknote has gone to the first source of distribution, this would normally be a National or Regional Bank. These Banks use automatic counting machines to directly audit and balance the delivery of all banknotes delivered, therefore they will have a small bump in the middle of the banknote, where the machine has counted all banknotes delivered to that particular bank, prior to distribution.
Although a minor point, this slight imperfection can devalue the banknotes, by many hundred of dollars.

Extra Fine
A banknote that qualifies as Extra Fine will have signs of circulation, with possibly up to 4 folds horizontally or vertically, creases and some marks. The banknote should have a near to uncirculated appearance, crispness to the touch, and not be damaged.

Very Fine
A banknote that qualifies as Very Fine, would show obvious signs of circulation, multiple folds, creases, marks, dirt with other obvious signs of wear. This banknote would appeal to a collector, to fill or complete a collection, depending on the rarity of the banknote.

A banknote that qualifies as Fine will show heavy signs of wear and damage, many creases, folds, dirt, tears torn edges with possibly pinholes. This banknote should be avoided for purchase.


As all grades have been listed above from Uncirculated to Fine, as a Collector/Investor of Polymer Banknotes, there are a few simple rules to observe to protect you financially.
The list given to you is the only one you should follow in purchasing or dealing in Polymer Banknotes.

Some confusion arises where half grades are used to describe the grade of a banknote, examples being a Very Fine will move to a Very Good Fine+ or Near Very Fine. An Extra Fine can move to a Good Extra Fine or Near Extra Fine.
An Almost Uncirculated can move to an Almost Uncirculated to Uncirculated grade. All of the above grades do not exist with Polymer Banknotes.

Only exact grades exist, not half grades, without following this formula, this could cost you hundred’s of dollars.


The Right Note Assists Clients of The Rare Coin Company

Richard Fahy The Right Note

Rare Australian Banknote and Coin Portfolio Valuations

The Rare Coin Companys’ liquidation has left many collectors/investors in an adverse financial situation. Portfolios true values need to be re‑established.


The Right Note (established 1995) is one of Australia’s leading numismatics dealers.

We have an extensive range of rare coins and banknotes online and even more offline.

Many former customers of The Rare Coin Company have already received our assistance. Confidential testimonials are available on request.

We can connect you with our network of serious investors and collectors.

We can assist with valuations even if your products are currently locked in storage.

Money merchant hits right note

Money merchant hits right note

I found this news article from many years ago among our files and decided to share this little bit of our history. The news article transcript is below.

Richard Fahy’s banknotes advisory service in Lane Cove has proved a hit

Money merchant hits right note


OWNING a rare and dated bank note is better than money in the bank, according to banknote consultant and owner of The Right Note, Richard Fahy.

Richard, and partner Bernie Low from Lane Cove, run Australia’s first home advisory service,to evaluate notes and provide advice on storage and retention buying.

Both men worked at a numismatics company which specilised in bank notes and coins.

They established their business in January and Richard says he’s worked every day since.

He said that in the past seven years bank notes dating back to 1913 had appreciated by 10 to 15 per cent and last year by 30 per cent.

In his collection Richard has some of the first notes to be produced in Australia, notes from the King George V, pre-federation, pre-decimal and decimal periods.

Interested clients call and tell them the service required and then a portfolio will be put together, including client options such as prices, certificates of authenticity and grade.

The grade refers to the note’s quality — the less creases or folds, the more it is worth.

The highest quality notes are ones that have not been circulated — never put in someone’s pocket or shop till.

Richard has bought all his notes from collectors, auctions and investors.

He said the reason for his company’s success was that people didn’t have the time to travel into the city to look at a note that might interest them.

“Serious collectors regard their collections, not only as a fascinating hobby but as an investment,” he said. “Australian bank notes continue to outperform most other collectible investments, increasingly being compared to fine art and antiques.”

No doubt this interest would increase with the last $100 note being printed later this year, the last Australian paper note ever to be printed.

A Brief and complete history of paper banknotes throughtout the world

The oldest existing bank note came from 14th Century China; this was a 1000 Yuen banknote, 225 by 340 mm with a pile of coins depicted front and centre.

However, paper money can be traced back to 7th Century China during the Song Dynasty when paper currency was used  as temporary ‘cash’ to tackle the copper shortage. These original banknotes were held with the intention that they could be traded at any time back to copper coinage.

R301sf-EF-ZSA-31514-FrontIt took 300 years after Marco Polo returned from China with stories of paper money, for the Europeans to adopt the novel idea. However, it had an interesting beginning. It began first (much like in China) as emergency money to substitute for coins and other tradeable items, silver, gold etc.

It wasn’t until the 17th Century that banknotes went into proper European production. The first European banknote was printed in Sweden, thanks to Johan Palmstruch who printed his first ‘Kreditivsedlar’ (credit paper) in 1661. However, when the bank printed too many notes- Palmstruch was imprisoned for damages- making the Stockholms Banco-Notes rare collector’s items.

Still during the 17th Century the battle over control over England’s money system was coming to a head. In the end- favour fell toward the idea of an independent credit institution and the Bank of England was founded in 1694.  The Bank of England printed Goldersmiths banknotes as promissory notes from English goldsmiths on account deposits. The State received a loan in exchange for the right to print banknotes. In time the Bank of England developed into the most influential Bank in the world commercially printing, and exchanging paper banknotes throughout the British Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries.

ERROR-NOTE-R18-JP-(3)One year later, the Bank of Scotland was founded and carried a powerful monopoly over Scottish banknotes until 1717. Around the same time, Norway experienced the circulation of banknotes at the hands of Thør Møhlen; however the Norwegian public rejected the idea, turning their notes in for exchange to coinage, sliver or gold almost immediately.

Under Louis XIV, France began printing paper banknotes. Paper money was still seen as an uncertainty and as such, the most other European states waited until the late 19th to begin printing and circulating their own State currencies, from here the rest is history.

Research Material: RE Fahy Pty Ltd Trading as The Right Note-Research and Historical Department.

Additional Research Material: www.moneymuseum.com.

A History of Australian Specimen Banknotes

Australian Pre Decimal Banknotes circa 1913-1961

The first Australian specimen banknotes were issued by The Treasury of the Commonwealth of Australia Circa 1913-1915. These banknotes came from the normal printing run of each denomination, they carried the word CANCELLED perforated horizontally near the centre on the obverse side of each banknote. The signature combinations of Australia’s first specimen banknotes were both Collins/Allen and Cerutty/Collins.

In the TS Harrison (Commonwealth of Australia Printer) era, banknote issues from 1923 to 1933, two large holes were added, also during this period, distinct black diagonal lines were added to both the obverse and reverse sides.

With the introduction of the Riddle/Sheehan signatures combinations from 1933, banknotes continued to have a large CANCELLED perforation, together with five distinct circular holes.

Later specimen banknotes consisted of a smaller CANCELLED perforated on the obverse side, in the signature area, together with black diagonal lines. Exceptions to this rule were made for specimen banknotes presented to King George V and the Prince of Wales; these are referred to as the Prince of Wales specimen banknotes. These banknotes were the first Australian banknotes to carry the word SPECIMEN, which were placed within the serial number area of the banknote.

Banknotes with a small perforated CANCELLED together with black lines, were to continue through the King George V and King George VI, and the first Queen Elizabeth II banknote issues circa 1954.

After this year, the Treasury of the Commonwealth of Australia, specimen banknotes were changed to large capped SPECIMEN, printed in red, this was printed on both sides of these banknotes.

Decimal Specimen Banknotes – Type 1


With the introduction of decimal currency in February 1966, specimen banknotes featured the word SPECIMEN in bold red lettering, surrounded by an oval configuration in red. All Type 1 specimens as they are referred to, as they were the first decimal SPECIMEN banknotes issued in 1966, carried the first prefix of each banknote with the serial number 000000. Type 1 specimens which all carried the signature combination of Coombs/Wilson, were- One Dollar AAA 000000, Two Dollar FAA 000000, Five Dollar Coombs/Randall NAA 000000 issued separately on issue in 1967, Ten Dollar SAA 000000 and finally the Twenty Dollar XAA 000000.

The type 1 set of specimen banknotes was produced in a book form. The total of 208 books was issued containing 2 banknotes of each denomination. These books were produced for presentation to dignitaries, major banks both within Australia and internationally, libraries both in Australia and internationally and individuals associated with the design and production of the introduction of decimal currency to Australia.

Of the 208 books, over many years quite a number changed hands, new owners would break these books down, and sell the SPECIMEN banknotes on the open market.

This is the reason collectors and investors are able to purchase individual Type 1 SPECIMEN banknotes.

As all SPECIMEN banknotes were gifted to certain institutions, and individuals, a profit was to be made, and realised, thereby the commencement of an open market in decimal specimen banknotes.

Decimal Specimen Banknotes – Type 2

Decimal specimen type 2 banknotes had the word SPECIMEN printed diagonally in red eight times there were four overprints on the obverse side and four on the reverse side.

All banknotes commenced with the first prefix, with the serial number 000000. These specimen banknotes were issued to Australian and International banks to display these new banknotes to the general public. Those that were put on display by Australian for public viewing, will normally have pin holes on the banknote, this is common. Many banknotes never ‘quite made it to a public notice board’, within Australian banks, and from time to they appear at auction in Uncirculated condition.

The signature combinations of Type 2 specimen banknotes in their denominations were all the signature combination of Coombs/Wilson from One Dollar to Twenty Dollar, coupled with the Five Dollar Coombs/Randall, with first prefix and serial numbers 000000. In addition to the above listed Type 2 specimen banknotes were the signature combinations of Phillips/Wheeler circa 1972.

Historical Notation

Only two full sets and two singles are known to exist in the 8BY specimen overprint, with the signature combination of Phillips/Wheeler-Commonwealth of Australia. The Type 2 SPECIMEN issue of 10 banknotes is described as extremely rare. Having been issued to Australian banks, and as with all specimen banknotes, they may have been destroyed, or kept as mementos by bank staff.


Of all issued Australian specimen banknotes-Type 2 are the rarest. As only issued to banks for public display, with a small number allocated to those involved in the design and production of the banknotes. Type 2 banknotes are very rarely seen on the open market in strictly uncirculated grades.

Due to the rarity of Type 2 SPECIMEN banknotes appearing on the open market, sale prices exceed all other decimal specimen banknotes by a ratio of 7 to 1.

Decimal Specimen Banknotes – Type 3


Specimen banknotes issued in Type 1 and Type 2, all have the same serial numbers, this being all identified by first prefix and serial numbers 000000. There was no way of tracking individual banknotes.

Type 3 specimen banknotes, included the words “NO VALUE”. Two large diagonal words in outlined type denoted SPECIMEN, with the additional security feature, giving the actual specimen number. These security features were added to both the obverse and reverse sides.

Similar security overprinting is now used on Australian pre decimal banknotes loaned to major museums and banks throughout the world, remembering all Australian specimen banknotes, in theory remain the property of the Australian government in perpetuity.

Decimal Specimen Banknotes – Type 4


The decimal Type 4 banknote, a One Hundred Dollar with the signature combination of Johnston/Stone circa 1984.

Obverse side small Red SPECIMEN, underneath the figures of Tebbutt and Mawson at the top of the banknote, was printed twice, this is repeated once on the reverse side. This new specimen type was introduced in 1984, with the introduction of the first Australian One Hundred Dollar banknote in 1984. The specimen number was printed in red on the reverse side for security reasons.

Historical Notation

Cardholders containing one specimen banknote were autographed by the designer Harry Williamson. As specimen banknotes are produced primarily for use within and by The Reserve Bank of Australia, and gifted to overseas banks. The Reserve Bank according to research is not prepared to divulge details about, the number of this very rare banknote being issued.

Decimal Specimen Banknotes – Type 5. Paper/Polymer Banknote Issues.

The introduction of polymer banknotes, commenced with the Ten Dollar Bi-Centennial with the signature combination of Johnston/Fraser.

The banknote featured a small Red Specimen on the obverse side, with the SPECIMEN number on the reverse side of the banknote. This series of numbering of all polymer banknotes with individualised serial numbers has been continued for all polymer banknotes from 1988. Serialised numbers were added from Type 3 specimens to protect the integrity of genuine specimen banknotes.

Reference Sources

Michael P Vort Roland. Australian Specimen Banknotes. December 2012.

Renniks Australian & Banknote Values 24th Edition.

McDonald, Australian Coins and Banknotes. Twentieth Edition.

RE. Fahy Pty Ltd Historical and Research Department.

Copyright: RE Fahy Pty Ltd. 2013.