Australian note hoard in International Auction Galleries sale
- Published: Mar 8, 2023, 9 AM
While sometimes, what an auction may lack in quality or rarity it makes up for in quantity, at other times rarity and quantity are seen in the same sale, as is the case with Australia’s International Auction Galleries’ Signature Sale 97 set for March 14 through 16.
Its 2,100 lots make it the Queensland, Australia, firm’s biggest auction ever. The sale includes the so-called “Sampson Hoard,” an old, previously undiscovered hoard comprising more than £6,100 at face value of pre-decimal bank notes from the 1940s and 1950s. Included in this is a rare original bundle of 100 1949 £1 notes. Although this issue is quite common in lower grades, in Uncirculated grades it has been known to approach $150 in Choice and over $350 in Gem quality.
Other key examples of Australian paper currency include three rare, superscribed bank notes, a £1 note from the Bank of Australasia and £1 and £20 notes of the Union Bank of Australia Ltd., from the period of 1910 to 1914. Renniks Australian Coin & Banknote Values (31st edition, 2022) explains that from 1817 to 1910, paper money in Australia was issued by private banks and the Queensland Government. In 1910, the Australian government legislated for itself the responsibility of issuing bank notes. Then it took two and a half years to design and print the first Australian government notes, so as a temporary measure, the government bought unused notes from Queensland and 15 private banks and overprinted then at 90 degrees with “AUSTRALIAN NOTE Payable in Gold Coin at the Commonwealth Treasury at the seat of Government.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia calls these the first bank notes that were acceptable across the nation. The intention was to withdraw them once the new notes were issued, but they were kept in circulation because of the shortage of currency following the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
Renniks prices the Australasian note at $44,000 Australian ($30,267 U.S.) and the Union Bank notes at $28,000 ($19.260 U.S.) for the £1 note and $162,000 ($111,440 U.S.) for the £20 note.
Other significant pre-decimal notes include a £5 star replacement note from the 1960s with serial number 100000*, and some specimen notes. There is also what IAG categorizes as a significant range of rare decimal specimen notes.
For more information on this or upcoming sales, visit IAG’s website: www.iagauctions.com.
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