An extremely rare WWI-era 5 shillings banknote from the 1920s will be offered at an auction next week with an estimated value of $70,000.
Over one million notes were printed by the government at that time but were never issued. It is one of the four known notes which was saved from a furnace and features the signature of the then Assistant Secretary to the Treasurer C.J. Cerutty.
The price of silver was going very high after WWI. Due to the economic instability, the government also thought of reducing the silver standard in coins.
Consumers started hoarding five-shilling silver coins leading to its shortage. This led the Australian Government to print more than one million five-shilling banknotes.
The notes were destroyed in 1922 when the price of silver stabilised. The four existing notes don’t have serial numbers. Nevertheless, they have signatures of C.J. Cerutty who showed them to politicians, VIPs or the royal family.
The Government had to destroy a lot of 1000-pound notes in the 1960s as well. But these notes were yet to be circulated between the official banks. The offered note, on the other hand, was ready for distribution.