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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 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £1 (1953), Uncirculated OPQ
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £1 (1953), Uncirculated OPQ
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD250- AUD300
AUD2000 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10's (1954), Fine or better (3 notes)
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10's (1954), Fine or better (3 notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD325- AUD400
AUD2500 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1960), Crisp good Very Fine
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth £10 (1960), Crisp good Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD175- AUD225
AUD1250 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth & Reserve £10 (1954 & 1960), Fine or better (2 notes)
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' Commonwealth & Reserve £10 (1954 & 1960), Fine or better (2 notes)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD250
AUD1750 Bids
An Australia Decimal Currency 25th Anniversary 1991 Archival Banknote Presentation Set, Serial Numbers 819, Limited Edition 6/800
Jun 27, 6:00 PM AEST
An Australia Decimal Currency 25th Anniversary 1991 Archival Banknote Presentation Set, Serial Numbers 819, Limited Edition 6/800
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD5,000- AUD6,000
AUD4,4000 Bids
ONE POUND, (R.33S) Coombs/Wilson, Commonwealth Bank (1953) HE/91 42662* Star Note; about Uncirculated.
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
ONE POUND, (R.33S) Coombs/Wilson, Commonwealth Bank (1953) HE/91 42662* Star Note; about Uncirculated.
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD2,000- AUD2,500
AUD1,6000 Bids
ONE POUND, (R.34aS) Coombs/Wilson, Reserve Bank (1961) HE98 82064* Star Note; about Uncirculated.
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
ONE POUND, (R.34aS) Coombs/Wilson, Reserve Bank (1961) HE98 82064* Star Note; about Uncirculated.
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD2,000- AUD2,500
AUD1,6000 Bids
FIVE DOLLARS, 1979 Knight/Stone (1979) (R.207), Unc. (8).
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
FIVE DOLLARS, 1979 Knight/Stone (1979) (R.207), Unc. (8).
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD150- AUD200
AUD1200 Bids
FIFTY DOLLARS, Knight/Stone (1979) (R.507) (1); and Phillips/Fraser (1989) (R.511) (1); both Uncirculated. (2)
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
FIFTY DOLLARS, Knight/Stone (1979) (R.507) (1); and Phillips/Fraser (1989) (R.511) (1); both Uncirculated. (2)
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD200- AUD250
AUD1600 Bids
FIFTY DOLLARS, Fraser/Higgins (1990) (R.512) WBV 423376/377, consecutive pair. Uncirculated. (2)
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
FIFTY DOLLARS, Fraser/Higgins (1990) (R.512) WBV 423376/377, consecutive pair. Uncirculated. (2)
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD200- AUD250
AUD1600 Bids
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Very Fine
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Armitage - McFarlane' £1 (1942), Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD75- AUD100
AUD500 Bids
Australia 'South Australian Banking Company' 1862 £1, good Fine
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'South Australian Banking Company' 1862 £1, good Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD17,500- AUD22,500
AUD15,0000 Bids
FIVE DOLLARS, Fraser/Cole (1992) Last Prefix AB19712343/47 (R.214L) five consecutive notes. Uncirculated. (5).
Jun 30, 12:00 PM AEST
FIVE DOLLARS, Fraser/Cole (1992) Last Prefix AB19712343/47 (R.214L) five consecutive notes. Uncirculated. (5).
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD2,500- AUD3,000
AUD2,0000 Bids
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' * Replacement £1 (1961), Very Fine
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Australia 'Coombs - Wilson' * Replacement £1 (1961), Very Fine
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD1,350- AUD1,750
AUD9000 Bids
Van Diemen's Land (Australia) 1824 G.W. Robinson One Shilling Promissory Note, Fine details
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Van Diemen's Land (Australia) 1824 G.W. Robinson One Shilling Promissory Note, Fine details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD9,000- AUD10,000
AUD7,0000 Bids
Van Diemen's Land (Australia) 1826 Thomas Stace Six-pence Promissory Note, good Very Fine details
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
Van Diemen's Land (Australia) 1826 Thomas Stace Six-pence Promissory Note, good Very Fine details
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD9,000- AUD10,000
AUD7,0000 Bids
1990, $10 NZ vertical pair, AAA Prefix
Jul 03, 6:00 PM AEST
1990, $10 NZ vertical pair, AAA Prefix
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD200 Bids
1990, $10 NZ vertical sheet of 4, AAA Prefix
Jul 03, 6:00 PM AEST
1990, $10 NZ vertical sheet of 4, AAA Prefix
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD75- AUD125
AUD400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Australia & New Zealand Paper Money


Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty

Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty

Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Noonans Mayfair

Noonans Mayfair