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Rare Aussie banknotes worth up to $1,500

Australian $50 paper banknotes can fetch between $60 and $1,500, depending on a few key details.

Australian paper banknotes
Before Australia introduced polymer banknotes in the 1980s, Aussies used to use these paper notes. (Source: eBay/pjswagman)

Do you have old paper banknotes lying around at home? Experts have revealed which notes could fetch you a small fortune from dealers and collectors.

Australia released its first decimal series of paper banknotes in 1966, with the issue of the $1, $2, $10 and $20 denominations. This was later followed by $5 notes in 1967, along with $50 and $100 notes in 1973 and 1984.

The $1 and $2 bank notes were later phased out following the introduction of $1 and $2 coins. And in 1988, Australia became the first country to introduce polymer banknotes. These were designed to be more secure against counterfeiting, as well as a more durable option to paper.



But if you’ve still got your hands on the old paper banknotes now, coin and banknote experts say they can be worth thousands depending on specific factors like the date, condition, signature and serial number.

Perth numismatist Joel Kandiah said paper $50 bank notes could be worth between $60 and $1,500 depending on a few key details.

“If you find a paper $50 that is in circulation, it’ll fetch you between $60 and $70,” Kandiah shared on TikTok.

“Notes in uncirculated condition can fetch between $120 and $200, whilst a note with the prefix YAA and the signature combination of Phillips/Wheeler can fetch up to $1,500 in uncirculated condition.”

The $50 notes feature the portrait of the founder of penicillin Howard Florey, while the back of the note has the image of CSIRO pioneer Ian Clunies Ross.

$50 paper banknote
Rare $50 paper banknotes can fetch up to $1,500. (Source: RBA)

Again, this will depend on the specific year, signature and serial number of the banknote, along with its condition.

According to Perth coin dealer Sterling and Currency, most $1 banknotes are still only worth their face value. That’s because many Aussies chose to keep them when $1 coins were introduced, with the Reserve Bank estimating that approximately 19 million notes are still in circulation. But there are still rarer notes that can fetch as much as $7,500.

Some $2 bank notes can also be valuable if they have certain serial numbers or are in mint condition, Sterling and Currency said, with some of the oldest bills worth up to $5,000.

Rare $5 notes can fetch up to $6,500, while rare $10 can fetch up to $6,000. The rarest $20 notes in “perfect condition” can fetch an eye-watering $19,500.

So if you’ve got some old paper banknotes lying around home, it can definitely be worth your while doing a bit of research and speaking to a professional to see how much it’s worth.

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