Collectors sometime asked the question as to why people go for first and last prefix notes. Why, when some printers print notes with special prefix (replacement) to replace those error or rejected notes. Won’t be the replacement notes are worth much more than the first or last prefix? In most cases, there are, as replacement prefix are unique and are usually issued in much lower quantity that any other prefixes printed.
So why First and Last prefix? Personally, I do not have an answer for you. Perhaps this has something to do with the collectors trends; especially the first prefix can be easily recognised by collectors ie A, AA or A/1 etc.
But the question is still why? Isn’t every serial numbers are unique and no two serial numbers are the same? Well, of course if you have notes with extremely low serial numbers, solids, radars, ladders, repeaters or whatever numbers that pleased a collector’s eyes, then of course such note would command a premium as compared to others with normal serial number/prefix notes.
Whilst many collectors around the world specifically collect these first and last prefix notes, like collectors from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea, the UK, Canada and many part of the world, I believe that the last prefix notes would usually have a much better investment returns than the first. Generally speaking, my explaining is quite simple. Every collector, regardless of how acknowledgeable they are, one should be able to identify the first prefix note. But how do they know what prefix is the last prefix series? Most Central Bank would not or unwilling to provide such information due to confidentially reasons. And in some case, because of the lack of such information, most collectors would not know until the final print is issued, and by that time, it may be too late to get one at a decent price. I understand that there are avail collectors that made a habit to collect every single prefixes issued, but then one must have the financial resources to do that especially those high value notes, and not many collectors can afford that kind of collection. Keeping them is like having death money not generating any returns at all.
Based on past experience, Australian last prefix note tends to have a much better returns that those first prefix notes. Generally speaking, I am referring to polymer notes here only as Australia has creased printing replacement notes in the 70s. Just to give an example, if you are looking for a 1995 $50 with AA prefix, this note may cost you few hundred dollars to get one. But if you are looking for the last prefix ie VG95, be prepared to fork out few grands to have one. I am not sure what the current market value is, but I am having difficulty in just getting one in any condition at the moment. There are still plenty of 1995 prints in general circulation, but finding one with VG letters is like looking for a needle in a hay stack!
For those who may not aware of this, the Australia 2008 $50 prints, a million were printed for the AA08 first prefix. However less than 50,000 pieces were printed for the last prefix MD08. At this moment, I have not seen any sudden appreciation on this last prefix note yet, however time will tell. However if you have bought one for the AA prefix, perhaps it is not too late to get one MD prefix too.
Update: Just saw a dealer listed the following selling price for the $50 2008 prints; -
AA08 First prefix = $90; and
MD08 Last prefix = $150