The Missing Link

posted in: Banknotes | 0

The following was present by a member of the Society at the meeting held on Thursday 16 July, 2016.


On 3 April 2013 a number of Australian decimal rarities were offered for sale by auction in The Netherlands by Corne Akkermans Auctions.

They were intaglio proofs of paper $20 and $100 notes on blue paper, doubly-printed Simultan paper $50 notes and a blank vertical block of four notes with a watermark of what is presumed to be that of Captain James Cook.

Lot 33 was a vertical strip of the Intaglio design of four $20 notes on blue paper with a partial strip of “20” to the left and about an 85% blank strip on the right side.  Within the blank strip were impressions of the Intaglio “20” and “wings” as shown to the left of Kingsford Smith. The “notes” had facsimile signatures of Johnston and Stone, which had been crossed out.  Estimated at 850 Euros, the strip failed to sell at auction.


Lot 37 was a single uniface Intaglio design $100 proof on light blue paper, which sold at the estimate of 500 Euros.


In the International Auction Galleries (IAG) auction in April this year a single $20 intaglio proof on blue paper similar to those in the Akkermans auction, appeared as Lot 447 in gEF condition and sold for a hammer price of $920.


Finally, in the Noble Numismatics auction in Sydney in April this year, a similar (but fully printed) note on polymer in uncirculated condition appeared as Lot 4174 and sold for a hammer price of $12,000 against an estimate of  $17,000 .  Being printed on polymer it lacked the watermark and metal thread features of the original printings of the paper notes.  It too, had the signatures defaced.

The common link between the blue paper proofs of the Dutch and IAG auctions and the fully printed note in Nobles, is the defaced signatures of Johnston and Stone.

The highest serial number for paper $20 notes was ADK 999999 with Fraser / Evans signatures, last issued in October 1994.  The polymer $20 trial serial number is way beyond that.  The fully printed $20 trial note on polymer bore the serial numbers AJS 049619.  This number was within the range of numbers previously used for Phillips/Randall $1 notes, 1972-1974.

The fact that intaglio proofs on blue paper exist for the $20 and the $100 makes it possible that fully printed trials on polymer were also produced of the $100 paper note.  Perhaps collectors should be also be looking for paper-designed (Mawson-Tebbutt) $100 notes without watermarks or a metallic thread in the hope of discovering a similar trial printed on polymer in that denomination?