Rarest and most valuable Australian decimal banknotes
By CAA | Tuesday, 5 January 2021
Decimalisation presented major logistical challenges for the new banknotes. They had to be finalized for 1966. An important feature of the new currency was that its notes would be entirely produced in Australia by Australian organizations. The $1 bill replaced the 10-shilling note. However, the overall look and feel of the notes was radically different to anything Australians had seen before. Here are the rarest and most valuable decimal banknotes produced in Australia.
On denominations from 1 dollar to 20 dollars, it is possible de find an asterisk after the serial number to indicate a replacement note. Replacement notes were issued to replace a damaged banknote or a banknote destroyed before being put into circulation. This type of banknote generally have a larger value.
All Coombs-Randall asterisk banknotes (172,000 were produced) may worth up to $10,000, making these the most valuable 1 dollar notes. Even in lower grades, they are worth at least 3 digits. Only 3 prefixes exist which are:
- ZAF 45000* to ZAF 99999*. The ZAF 45116* certified PCGS GUNC-67 sold for around $3,000 at auction in 2019.
- ZAG 00001* to ZAG 99999*. The ZAG 05787* certified PMG GUNC-66 sold for around $2,750 at auction in 2018.
- ZAH 00000* to ZAH 17000*
Replacement 1 dollar notes also exist for the Phillips-Randall (683,000 produced) and Coombs-Wilson (535,000 produced) signatures. In uncirculated condition, they are worth $1,200 to $4,000 each:
- Coombs-Wilson ZAA 00001* to ZAF 35000*
- Phillips-Randall ZAH 17001* to ZAQ 10000*
Coombs-Wilson with first prefix AAA and last prefix AGE, Coombs-Randall first prefix AGE and last prefix AHY and Phillips-Randall first prefix AHY are also worth up to $1,000/$1,500 in perfect condition.
Asterix replacement two dollars banknotes are worth from 3 digits up to $6,000 for perfect condition banknotes:
- Coombs-Wilson ZFA 00001* to ZFH 18999* - 718,299 produced. Coombs-Wilson first prefix FAA and last prefix FKD without asterisk are also worth a lot in great condition.
- Coombs-Randall ZFH 19001* to ZFK 89000* - 270,000 produced
- Phillips-Randall ZFK 89001* to ZFS 96107* - 607,107 produced
Other than these, Knight-Wheeler with gothic style prefix HQV and OCRB style prefix JEY with side thread are worth up to $1,200.
Among the rarest decimal replacement banknotes, the 5 dollars Phillips-Randall ZNC* and ZND* may worth $17,000 to $20,000. Even in circulated condition, these notes are a couple thousand dollars each. A total of 101,619 were produced. Also rare replacement from Coombs-Randall:
- ZNA* 00001* to ZNA 99999*. The ZNA 35702* certified PMG GUNC-66 sold for around $4,000 at auction in 2018.
- ZNB* 00001* to ZNB 99999*
- ZNC* 00001* to ZNC 04000*. These notes are worth from $2,000 to $15,000. The ZNC 23824* certified PMG CUNC-64 sold for $8,500 at auction in 2018.
In 1992, the first polymer 5 dollars banknote was issued. Fraser-Cole with AB19 prefix are worth up to $2,000. In 1995, the polymer five dollars notes were recoloured and the more expensive of them are Fraser-Evans first prefix HC95 and last prefix KC95 (both with Narrow bands).
Between the 3 signatures combination with asterisk serial numbers, the Coombs-Randall are the rarest. A ZSE* GUNC-65 example sold for $6,150 in 2020:
- Coombs-Wilson ZSA* to ZSD*
- Coombs-Randall ZSD* and ZSE*
- Phillips-Randall ZSF* to XSJ*
On January 27, 1988, the Reserve Bank of Australia released for the first time the commemorative 10 dollars 1988 banknote. It was developped by the Reserve Bank of Australia, The University of Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to enhance the security of australian currency and it was the first modern polymer banknote issued worldwide. Read more »
The first issue AB33 and second issue AB57 are valued in perfect condition at around $1,000. First issue banknotes is recognizable by looking at the 3rd and 4th numbers of the serial number. They can be 93, 94 or 96.
The only replacement asterisk notes known for the 20 dollars denomination are Phillips-Randall ZXA*. The value is between $1,000 for low condition to nearly $20,000. Only 62,500 were produced. Coombs-Randall notes are also very rare because few of them were made (XBQ, XBR and XBS prefixes only).
The Knight-Wheeler gothic first prefix XQR with side thread is also worth noting since a few of them are known and most of them are in circulated condition. It is worth thousands of dollars.
Most fifty dollars notes aren't much as high as the examples above, except some first and last prefixes. Here are some honorable mentions:
- Johnston-Fraser YUE and YXH with OCRB serial number ($1,000)
- Fraser-Evans VG95 and DA96 ($3,000)
- Macfarlane-Evans JC97 and JC98 ($2,000)
Here are some honorable mentions of 100 dollars notes:
- Johnston-Stone ZCD ($1,000)
- Fraser-Higgins ZJS ($1,500)
- Fraser-Evans CS96 - Test Note ($3,000)
- Macfarlane-Evans CF98 ($3,000)