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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10 x Consecutive Australian $50 paper bank notes
Oct 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
10 x Consecutive Australian $50 paper bank notes
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD5005 Bids
2008 $100 Australian First Prefix AA08
Oct 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
2008 $100 Australian First Prefix AA08
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD903 Bids
1x Commonwealth of Australia, Five Pound Banknote
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1x Commonwealth of Australia, Five Pound Banknote
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD337- AUD450
AUD302 Bids
1x Australia $5 Bank Note
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1x Australia $5 Bank Note
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD18- AUD25
AUD102 Bids
1X Commonwealth Of Australia, Ten Shilling Banknote
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1X Commonwealth Of Australia, Ten Shilling Banknote
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD225- AUD300
AUD502 Bids
1x Commonwealth Of Australia, Five Pound Banknote
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1x Commonwealth Of Australia, Five Pound Banknote
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD337- AUD450
AUD201 Bid
Horace Brodzky (1885-1969) Linocut (N.Y./ Australia)
Oct 24, 12:00 PM EDT
Horace Brodzky (1885-1969) Linocut (N.Y./ Australia)
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Australia
Nov 16, 12:00 PM EST
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Australia
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Harry Emmett, 'Narrow Neck Lookout', New South Wales, Australia, oil on canvas board, signed and inscribed on
Oct 27, 11:00 AM BST
Harry Emmett, 'Narrow Neck Lookout', New South Wales, Australia, oil on canvas board, signed and inscribed on
by John Nicholsons Fine Art Auctioneer & Valuer
Est: £50- £100
£450 Bids
Western Australia’s Centenary. ca. 1929.
Nov 14, 11:00 AM EST
Western Australia’s Centenary. ca. 1929.
by Poster Auctions International Inc
Est: $1,400- $1,700
$1,1000 Bids
Western Australia.
Nov 14, 11:00 AM EST
Western Australia.
by Poster Auctions International Inc
Est: $1,700- $2,000
$1,4000 Bids
American Airlines / Australia. ca. 1969.
Nov 14, 11:00 AM EST
American Airlines / Australia. ca. 1969.
by Poster Auctions International Inc
Est: $1,000- $1,200
$8000 Bids
CROCOITE TASMANIA AUSTRALIA ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Oct 20, 1:00 PM CDT
CROCOITE TASMANIA AUSTRALIA ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids
RUBUNTJA Wenten (1926-2005), Two Gums & Mountain Range, Central Australia., W/Clr, 49x74cm
Oct 24, 10:00 AM AEDT
RUBUNTJA Wenten (1926-2005), Two Gums & Mountain Range, Central Australia., W/Clr, 49x74cm
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD500- AUD800
AUD4750 Bids
6 various Australian paper Bank Notes
Oct 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
6 various Australian paper Bank Notes
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD200 Bids
1998 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay South Australia
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
1998 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay South Australia
by Kaminski Auctions
Est: $600- $1,000
$3000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Australia & New Zealand Paper Money


Jewellery Auctions Unlimited

Jewellery Auctions Unlimited

Poster Auctions International Inc

Poster Auctions International Inc

Bargain Hunt Auctions

Bargain Hunt Auctions

Kaminski Auctions

Kaminski Auctions