TUCKED away inside an envelope gathering dust in a pile of old papers, this piece of monetary history could have ended up in the scrap heap.
But the 103-year-old banknote, discovered among the possessions of the late Judith Denman, is valued at a staggering $1 million.
While its inflation value is a mere $58.43, as Australia’s first ever 10 shilling note banknote is worth substantially more thanks to its appeal to collectors.
Its current owner, a Melbourne businessman who snapped it up for $1 million in 2014, has allowed it to be transported interstate for this weekend’s Sydney Money Expo, after which it will be returned to its usual home: a bank vault.
Ms Denman, who passed away in 1987, was the daughter of former Governor-General Lord Thomas Denman.
She was just a little girl when she was invited to do the honour of handpressing the note with serial number 000001, in a ceremony held at the King’s Warehouse in Flinders Street, Melbourne on May 1, 1913.
Judith Denman at the printing ceremony. Picture: Museum of Currency Notes, Reserve Bank of Australia
The note was then officially presented to the five-year-old by then Prime Minister Andrew Fisher as a memento of the occasion.
The Denman family returned to England in 1914 and Australia’s first ever Commonwealth banknote went with them.
It was not until 12 years after her death that the note was discovered among Ms Denman’s possessions, marked “Judith’s 10/- Note May 1st 1913”.
The note will be on display at the Sydney Money Expo in a specially manufactured, high security showcase that allows people to get a close-up look and take photographs with it.
Belinda Downie, president of the Australasian Numismatics Dealers Association, said the note was “a priceless part of Australia’s heritage”.
“It survives today in pristine condition as the nation’s greatest financial legacy, a symbol of Australia’s emergence as a nation,” Ms Downie said.
The note’s owner “believes the public deserve a chance to see it,” she said. “As it’s the Commonwealth of Australia’s first ever banknote, the item is unique. It can never be replaced.”
Courtesy News.com.au OCTOBER 14, 2016