Don Cleveland forwarded this article about the recent rediscovery of Australia's first pound note in the archives of the National
Library. Thanks. -Editor
The National Library has found Australia's first pound note, thought to be lost to history for nearly 80 years, in its very own
The note, marked with the serial number P000001 was the first piece of currency to carry the Australian Coat of Arms.
Despite its significance, the note's discovery came about purely by chance.
A coin dealer, looking to sell Australia's first 10-shilling note to the library, alerted them to his suspicions that the note lay
within their collection.
That sparked a search of the National Library's myriad of manuscript files.
"The manuscript collection altogether has 12,000 collections and some of those collections are one item or one box. Other
collections have many hundreds of boxes and thousands of items," curator Kylie Scroope said.
"The first place we started looking was in the personal papers of then prime minister Andrew Fisher.
"We knew that Mr Fisher had an association with the establishment of this currency, and the printing."
The search of Mr Fisher's personal papers turned up nothing, so the search widened to the entire collection.
"Then it became a matter of using the library's catalogue to search for any collection that had a description that made
reference to currency or banknote," Ms Scroope said.
Eventually the note was found in a collection said to contain specimen bank notes.
The one-pound note was presented to Mr Fisher by the Treasury in 1913.
He kept it until 1927, when he passed it on to then prime minister Stanley Bruce, for donation to the Parliamentary Library.
"The Parliamentary Library and the National Library at that stage were a single institution," Ms Scroope said.
Despite records of the donation at the National Archives of Australia, the note went largely unnoticed for the next 80 years.
But Ms Scroope said someone must have found the note in the archives and placed it into a conservation sleeve sometime in the past 30
"In the 20 or 30 years since those sorts of materials came about, but we don't know when that happened," Ms Scroope
She said it was difficult to tell what other treasures may be in the National Library's possession.
"Until someone starts looking in the boxes you never know what might be lurking there."
The note is set to go on public display at the library from Monday.
To read the complete article, see:
National Library finds
Australia's first pound note, thought to be lost for nearly 80 years
Wayne Homren, Editor
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