Australia’s first banknote turns one hundred!

May the 1st, 2013, marks exactly 100 years since the printing of Australia’s very first banknote – the 1913 Ten Shilling note.

Unveiled in 1913 as part of Australia’s first national banknote issue, and bearing Australia’s first banknote signature combination, Collins/Allen, this groundbreaking 100-year-old banknote issue is among the most historic, most significant of all Australian banknotes. Not only does this note bear Australia’s first signature combination, it was also the first note issued by a Commonwealth nation with a face value of less than £1 – beating Britain’s famous Bradbury Ten Shilling banknote by over a year!

1913 Ten Shilling R1c Collins/Allen Very Fine

The 1913 10/- Collins/Allen is known in contemporary numismatics by its extreme rarity. This rarity is largely attributable to the comparatively tiny number issued. The Australian population was less than five million in the pre-World War I era, and the print-run of Australia’s first Ten Shilling note was approximately 600,000 – an incredibly small number for a denomination that was destined to one day be issued in the tens if not hundreds of millions. Of that tiny print-run, the ravages of time has seen the number of existing examples estimated to be no more than 100 notes. Unsurprisingly, the 1913 10/- Collins/Allen is among Australia’s most desirable banknote issues – hotly pursued by passionate collectors and eagle-eyed investors alike.

It still surprises some that, 100 years after printed, a note of such mind-blowing rarity is occasionally seen on the open market, and is not the exclusive province of museums and history books. Tangible evidence of Australia’s very first national banknote issue – and, by definition, tangible evidence of a new era of numismatics in Australia – we have two examples of this excessively rare banknote available.

If you are interested in this mouth-watering opportunity to dine at the top table of Australian numismatics, visit Downies.com, or call our rarities expert David Jobson on (02) 9299 4131.

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The way of the future…

Following in the footsteps of 18 other countries, Canada has just announced their first release in a new line of Polymer Banknotes – the new $100 bill. Developed from a single sheet of polymer plastic, this iconic new series has been developed in a bid to win the battle against counterfeit currency.

The latest in a long line of new polymer banknotes that can be traced back, at least in part, to the very first Australian polymer banknote, the 1988 $10 Bicentennial note, Canada will join Australia, New Zealand, Romania and Vietnam to be the next country to fully convert to polymer.

Enhanced with an abundance of security features, the new $100 note is expected to be issued into circulation by the end of the month. With an aim to have the fifties, twenties, tens and fives circulating by the end of 2013, the new currency is expected to last twice as long as the existing notes and can be recycled upon destruction.

THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE! ~ Australia’s Golden Era of Wool – Coin & Banknote Portfolio!

Includes real Merino WOOL!

Headlined by a large piece of genuine Australian Merino wool – as well as three Australian legal tender issues – this inspired presentation forms the most fitting possible tribute to the crucial role of the Australian Wool Industry in the economic, political and cultural development of Australia.

The key to the tremendous worldwide success of the Australian Wool Industry from the colonial period to the modern age, Merino wool is renowned as the whitest, softest and most lavish natural fibre. An imaginative addition to a presentation defined as much by its great originality as its outstanding collector value, the authentic piece of Merino wool is the perfect complement to the two coins and one banknote found in the 2011 Australia’s Golden Era of Wool Coin &
Banknote Portfolio.

To be enshrined in legal tender is to receive the ultimate recognition, and, illustrating the importance of wool to the Australian nation, the Commonwealth Government has authorised several legal tender issues devoted to the Australian Wool Industry. Issued between 1938 and 1963, with the design based on Uardry 0.1, a champion ram at the 1932 Sydney Sheep Show, the Ram’s Head Silver Shilling is arguably Australia’s most memorable predecimal issue. Three years after the last shilling was struck, Australia’s $2 note was first issued, bearing the portrait of ‘The Father of the Merino Industry’, John Macarthur. Twenty-five years later, the 1991 Decimal Currency 25th Anniversary 50c was unveiled, bearing an inspired design based on the original Shilling Ram’s Head motif.

The perfect combination with which to honour the Australian Wool Industry, examples of the last Australian $2 note, the Elizabeth II 1953-63 Shilling and 1991 50c Decimal 25th Anniversary are united with the Merino wool in the 2011  Australia’s Golden Era of Wool Coin & Banknote Portfolio – all in pristine Uncirculated condition! Set within a large, impressive full-colour pack, featuring the history of the wool industry and a superb range of photos, this brilliant collection is sensational value-for-money at just A$69.95.

  • Headlined by a large piece of genuineAussie Merino wool!
  • Includes the 1985-88 Johnston/Fraser$2 note – in Unc quality
  • Features a 1953-63 Silver Shilling in Unc– date of our choice
  • Highlighted by the 1991 Decimal25th Anniversary 50c in Unc
  • Housed within an illustrated, informativepresentation pack
  • Absolutely fantastic value-for-money at just A$69.95!

Remarkable for the influence of a single breed – the Merino – the Australian wool industry was our major source of export income from the colonial period to the 1970s. However, beyond being key to the economic well-being of the nation, the history of the wool industry had a dramatic impact on Australia’s social, cultural and political development, playing a decisive role in the creation of the Australian national identity.

Sheep arrived with the First Fleet in 1788, but it wasn’t until the introduction of Merinos that the wool industry began its journey to become Australia’s number one export – in large part due to the efforts of John Macarthur. One of the earliest settlers, Macarthur was the first Merino breeder, and a tireless campaigner for the export of wool to Britain in the early 19th century. Although others made a significant contribution to the history of Australian wool production, Macarthur’s vision, large scale wool export and support for the trade has seen him enshrined as ‘The Father of the Merino Industry’. In part due to the turmoil in Europe created by the Napoleonic Wars, the wool industry’s first boom time took place after 1813, with the first significant British auction of Australian wool taking place in 1821.

Whilst the industry subsequently thrived, the 19th century was dominated by bitter conflicts between pastoralists and shearers. Whilst a lucrative business, logistical difficulties did bring heavy costs, and although advances such as mechanised shears and the replacement of shepherds with fencing, did ease the burden, employers still tried to cut costs by controlling shearers’ wages. United by a spirit of comradeship, shearers formed unions in the 1880s, with the battle against the pastoralists culminating in the shearer’s strike of 1890. This failed industrial action proved decisive to the history of Australian political life, with the first ALP branch meeting held in Queensland by striking shearers in 1891.

Battling through drought, flood and fire, as well as two World Wars and the Depression, the wool industry remained Australia’s primary source of export income until the late 20th century. Continuing to play a key role in Australian life, the wool industry’s contribution to our national identity means that, to some extent, Australia will always ‘ride on the sheep’s back’.

For more information or to purchase online, please click on the appropriate link:

Australia

North America