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looking for; - new issues only

no borrowed scans used here

14 February, 2010

Australia $5 'BA' First Prefix Note

Overseas collectors may sometime wondering why Australian $5 polymer notes first prefix is printed with letters ‘BA’ and not ‘AA’ like the rest of the denominations.

Here is my brief explanation.

The introduction of the polymer notes also saw a change in the numbering of the serial numbers. The two letters and the first two digits are the prefix and the remaining digits are the serial numbers. Whilst the first $5 polymer was introduced to the public in 1992, this new numbering system was not adopted until the following year in 1993.

The prefixes for the 1992 print used ranging from ‘AA00’ to ‘AB19’, and since the ‘Year Dated’ format seems to have been used for the 1992 print, NPA has decided not have those prefix repeated and has decided to commence the $5 note first prefix with ‘BA’ instead.

Despite saying this, however $5 ‘AA’ first prefix was used for the following issues: -

* The 1995 $5 recoloured note, but only for one year and it was then reverted back to ‘BA’ since then; and
* All Annual Folders series including both red and black series numbers;

In view of the above, it is unlikely that the $5 prefix with ‘AA’ letters will be used again for a very long time.

Just a footnote for the First and Last Letter prefix collection in Australia. Since Australia ceased printing replacement notes in the 70s, collectors have since then concentrating on first and last prefix series. Generally speaking, last letters prefix notes command a much better premium that the first prefix notes. The explanation as to why is quite simple.

Firstly, since the ‘Year Dated’ system adopted, apart from the $5 note, first prefix notes for all other denominations were printed with letters ‘AA’. Collectors can easily recognise them.

As for the last prefix notes, back in the early days when polymer notes were issued, such information were not that easily available to collectors. And for that most collectors would not have aware of such information until few years later. Becaues of this, many collectors would have missed out on this and as such a higher primium is demanded.

I hope you have better luck than me.

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