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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 'Fraser - Cole' $100 (1992), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Fraser - Cole' $100 (1992), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD500- AUD600
AUD4000 Bids
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane' 10/- (1939), Fine
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Sheehan - McFarlane' 10/- (1939), Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD115- AUD135
AUD750 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), good Very Fine Crisp Paper
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' £1 (1933), good Very Fine Crisp Paper
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD3000 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), about Uncirculated OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), about Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD350- AUD400
AUD2700 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' £1 (1953), Very Fine or better (2 Notes)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' £1 (1953), Very Fine or better (2 Notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD60- AUD75
AUD400 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Heathershaw' George V 'Commonwealth' £5 (1927), good Very Fine with Crisp Paper
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Heathershaw' George V 'Commonwealth' £5 (1927), good Very Fine with Crisp Paper
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD2,500- AUD3,000
AUD2,0000 Bids
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' Pink Face £5 (1933), Very Fine with Crisp Paper
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Riddle - Sheehan' Pink Face £5 (1933), Very Fine with Crisp Paper
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD1,750- AUD2,000
AUD1,5000 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £5 (1941), good Very Fine OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £5 (1941), good Very Fine OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD350- AUD450
AUD2500 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £10 (1943) PCGS 64 PPQ (Consec Pair)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £10 (1943) PCGS 64 PPQ (Consec Pair)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD8,000- AUD10,000
AUD6,0000 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1954), Fine or better (3 notes)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1954), Fine or better (3 notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD325- AUD400
AUD2500 Bids
Australia 'Phillips - Wheeler' Commonwealth $1 (1972), Uncirculated OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Phillips - Wheeler' Commonwealth $1 (1972), Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD90- AUD115
AUD600 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' (1966) $2, virtually Uncirculated OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' (1966) $2, virtually Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD115- AUD135
AUD750 Bids
Australia. 'Phillips - Wheeler' Australia $2 (1974), about Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia. 'Phillips - Wheeler' Australia $2 (1974), about Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD75- AUD100
AUD600 Bids
Australia 'Phillips - Wheeler' Australia $5 (1974), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Phillips - Wheeler' Australia $5 (1974), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Pair)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD3000 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' $10 (1966), virtually Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Trio)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' $10 (1966), virtually Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Trio)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD225- AUD275
AUD1750 Bids
Australia 'Johnstone - Fraser' $10 (1985), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Run of 5)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Johnstone - Fraser' $10 (1985), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Run of 5)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD250- AUD300
AUD2000 Bids
Australia 'Fraser - Evans' $10 (1993), Uncirculated OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Fraser - Evans' $10 (1993), Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD60- AUD75
AUD400 Bids
Australia 'Johnston - Fraser' $100 (1985), Uncirculated OPQ
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Johnston - Fraser' $100 (1985), Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD300- AUD375
AUD2250 Bids
Indigenous Australia Coin & Note Portfolio
Mar 14, 11:00 AM AEDT
Indigenous Australia Coin & Note Portfolio
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD150- AUD175
AUD200 Bids
Australia..'Phillips - Wheeler' C of A $1 (1972), virtually Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Run of Ten))
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia..'Phillips - Wheeler' C of A $1 (1972), virtually Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Run of Ten))
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD3000 Bids
Australia. 'Coombs - Wilson' $20 (1966), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Trio)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia. 'Coombs - Wilson' $20 (1966), Uncirculated OPQ (Consecutive Trio)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD300- AUD350
AUD2500 Bids
Australia 'Johnston - Fraser' Bicentennial $10, (1988), about Uncirculated/Uncirculated (9 notes)
Mar 10, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 'Johnston - Fraser' Bicentennial $10, (1988), about Uncirculated/Uncirculated (9 notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD225- AUD275
AUD1750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Australia & New Zealand Paper Money


Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions

Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty

Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty