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Australia & New Zealand Paper Money

Australian paper money was a regional matter prior to the unification of Australia. Queensland and New South Wales issued their own series of treasury notes and banknotes for legal tender, with privately-held banks supplementing with their own banknotes in some areas. This tradition proved hard to change. The Commonwealth government, after unification, had to pass a law specifically prohibiting State notes. In 1910, Australia officially moved to the pound until eventually settling on the dollar in 1966.

Amid rising concerns of counterfeiting, the Reserve Bank of Australia spearheaded research into polymer banknotes with the intent to replace traditional paper blends. In 1988, the first plastic banknotes were printed and distributed in Australia. While the initial run had several relatively minor issues, the bank moved ahead with production. Australia is currently among the nations who use entirely polymer banknotes. Neighboring New Zealand is also on this list, moving to polymer notes in 1999.

New Zealand followed much the same trajectory as its neighbor, although New Zealand adopted the pound in 1840, seventy years prior to Australia. Both moved to the dollar around the same time with New Zealand making the move in 1967. As time passed, New Zealand discontinued the $1 and $2 bills, opting to represent these values in coins instead.


Quick Facts

  • The Empire of Japan printed money with the Australian pound, intending to provide money for occupying military forces. It was never used in Australia
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander who was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, was featured prominently on the $5 note while he was still alive. Few people are displayed on currency while living
  • The only known surviving 1817 Australian banknote sold at auction in 2014 for $334,000

Recommended Items at Auction

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Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (1933), Good details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (1933), Good details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1500 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (19340, Very Good details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (19340, Very Good details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD175- AUD200
AUD1250 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth 10/- (1954), good Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth 10/- (1954), good Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD400 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson ' Reserve 10/- (1961), good Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson ' Reserve 10/- (1961), good Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD50
AUD300 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson ' Reserve 10/- (1961), Very fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson ' Reserve 10/- (1961), Very fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD400 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' Thick Signature £1 (1932), Fine details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' Thick Signature £1 (1932), Fine details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD325- AUD400
AUD2500 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), Fine details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), Fine details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD90- AUD115
AUD600 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), Crisp good Very Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), Crisp good Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD3000 Bids
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane £1 (1938), Very Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane £1 (1938), Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD175- AUD225
AUD1250 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £1 (1953), good Extremely Fine OPQ
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £1 (1953), good Extremely Fine OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD125- AUD150
AUD750 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Reserve £1 (1961), Crisp good Very Fine OPQ
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Reserve £1 (1961), Crisp good Very Fine OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD50
AUD300 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £5 (1941), Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £5 (1941), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD90- AUD115
AUD600 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £5 (1954), Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £5 (1954), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD400 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Watt' £10 (1949), Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Watt' £10 (1949), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD250
AUD1500 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1954), good Extremely Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1954), good Extremely Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD500- AUD900
AUD4000 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Heathershaw' 10/- (1928), Good details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Heathershaw' 10/- (1928), Good details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD125- AUD150
AUD750 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (1936), Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' 10/- (1936), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD175- AUD200
AUD1250 Bids
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane 10/- (1939). Good details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane 10/- (1939). Good details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD30- AUD40
AUD200 Bids
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane 10/- (1939), Crisp about Very Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane 10/- (1939), Crisp about Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD250
AUD1500 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' 10/- (1942), Good
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' 10/- (1942), Good
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD20- AUD30
AUD150 Bids
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane £1 (1938), Good details
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane £1 (1938), Good details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD30- AUD40
AUD200 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Good details (2 notes)
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Good details (2 notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD30- AUD40
AUD200 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Crisp good Very fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Crisp good Very fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD90- AUD115
AUD600 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Watt' £1 (1949), Fine
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Watt' £1 (1949), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Australia & New Zealand Paper Money


Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions