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How can you tell if you have a fake or counterfeit polymer banknote? You can do this simple trick. Crush the banknote with your palm like squeezing it into a ball and then let it go immediately. The note should spring back immediately. If not, then you may have a fake note in your hand.

. . . a complete collection of all Australian polymer notes (single note) issued since 1988, including all commemorative/numimatic notes, joint issues and special serial numbered issues. The only set that I do not have, at the moment, is the 1998 $10 Portraits AA98/AB98 (with or without frame). The $10 Portrait set was a failure at that time and the notes were later withdrew as it was not popular among collectors. The price was not right then for me and that was why I didn't buy them. It was NPA intention then to release all portrait sets on a yearly basis starting with the $10 note and collectors were also given the opportunity to get them all with matching serial numbers too. Unfortunately this was not the case.

Did you know .... that the Australia polymer notes series are designed in such a way that the portraits of female and male are alternated, with serial numbers on the front and signatures on the back, ie $5 Queen Elizabeth the ll/Parliament House, $10 AB Banjo Patterson/Mary Gilmore, $20 John Flynn/Mary Reibey, $50 Edith Cowan/David Unaipon, $100 Nellie Melba/John Monash and $5 Federation Henry Parkes/Catherine Helen Spence. Of course only the normal $5 note has one portrait on the front and none on the back.

.... Also did you know that .... The following were some of the names proposed for the new Australian currency back in the 60s when it was converting from Pound Sterling to Decimal - Boomer, the Digger, the Dinkum, the Emu, the Kanga, the Ming, Oz, the Quid, the Roo and Royal. Fortunately, the Dollar won the battle! Just like New Zealand, they too have proposed few other names for their currency, like the fern, kiwi, zeal before they too accepted dollar on 10.07.1967.

14 February 2010

Australia $5 'BA' First Prefix Note

Overseas collectors may sometime wondering why Australian $5 polymer notes first prefix is printed with letters ‘BA’ and not ‘AA’ like the rest of the denominations.

Here is my brief explanation.

The introduction of the polymer notes also saw a change in the numbering of the serial numbers. The two letters and the first two digits are the prefix and the remaining digits are the serial numbers. Whilst the first $5 polymer was introduced to the public in 1992, this new numbering system was not adopted until the following year in 1993.

The prefixes for the 1992 print used ranging from ‘AA00’ to ‘AB19’, and since the ‘Year Dated’ format seems to have been used for the 1992 print, NPA has decided not have those prefix repeated and has decided to commence the $5 note first prefix with ‘BA’ instead.

Despite saying this, however $5 ‘AA’ first prefix was used for the following issues: -

* The 1995 $5 recoloured note, but only for one year and it was then reverted back to ‘BA’ the following year; and
* All Annual Folders series including both red and black series numbers;

In view of the above, it is unlikely that the $5 prefix with ‘AA’ letters will be used again for a very long time.

Just a footnote for the First and Last Letter prefix collection in Australia. Since Australia ceased printing replacement notes in the 70s, collectors have since then concentrating on first and last prefix series. Generally speaking, last letters prefix notes command a much better premium that the first prefix notes. The explanation as to why is quite simple.

Firstly, since the ‘Year Dated’ system adopted, apart from the $5 note, first prefix notes for all other denominations were printed with letters ‘AA’. Collectors can easily recognise them.

As for the last prefix notes, back in the early days when polymer notes were issued, such information were not that easily available to collectors. And for that most collectors would not have aware of such information until few years later. Becaues of this, many collectors would have missed out on this and as such a higher primium is demanded.

I hope you have better luck than me.