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1918 Ten Pound Cerutty/Collins R52B Extremely Fine

1918 Ten Pound Cerutty/Collins R52B Extremely Fine

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Amongst the finest known for variety and type.

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Australia 1918 Ten Pounds Cerutty / Collins

Reverse simultan colours: Mauve / green / mauve

Serials: W 757981

Quality: Extremely Fine


Lot #2973, Noble Numismatics Auction 41 (March 1993). Estimate: $10,000, Hammer: $16,400, Nett: $16,400. Ex Claude Ball collection (Junee, NSW).

Lot #197, International Auction Galleries Auction 72 (September 2010). Estimate: $170,000, Hammer: $150,000, Nett: $174,750.

[The Claude Ball collection (Junee, NSW) was a comprehensive collection of Australian predecimal notes - it contained 1 £20; 2 * £50 and 1 * £100. The auctioneer stated that this collection sold for more than 50% over estimate in total.]

Equal to the finest known examples for this variety and type.

The first uniform series of Australian banknotes was released in 1913, as they were authorised by the Australian Commonwealth Treasury, this series is known by collectors as our "Treasury" series.

These Treasury notes were on issue for the decade between 1913 and 1923, and is quite complex relative to the Harrison and Ash series of notes that followed it. In addition to the  standard differences brought about by a change of signatories, the Treasury series is also split according to the numerous additional minor changes to note printing during that decade: the font used to print the serial numbers; the structure of the serial numbers; the colour of the ink used for the serial numbers; the inks used in the simultan process, as well as structural changes to Australia's central banking system.

The exact date that notes bearing the Cerutty Collins signature combination began entering circulation was not recorded, however it is believed to have been at some stage during 1918. James Richard Collins was Secretary to the Treasury between March 1916 and and August 1926. Charles John Cerutty was the Assistant Secretary to the Treasury from 1916, and performed the duties of the Treasury Secretary as well as the Director of the Commonwealth Bank's note-issue department in the absence/s of James Collins.

The relative rarity of each of the denominations issued into circulation with the Cerutty Collins signature combination can be seen in the table below:

Australia's Treasury Series Banknotes




Ten Shillings




One Pound




Five Pounds




Ten Pounds




Research by the respected numismatist Mick Vort Ronald has demonstrated that 99.82% of the total number of "Treasury Series" Ten Pound notes issued into circulation was recorded as having been destroyed by June 30th 1950. Just 3,607 notes were outstanding at that time. 1

Although the methods used to print Australia's banknotes had settled down considerably by 1918, there are still 3 different varieties of the Treasury series Cerutty Collins £10 note. The first £10 notes with these signatures featured a mauve/green/mauve simultan pattern on the back of the note, they also had small seriffed serial numbers in black ink. A minor change was implemented shortly after the Cerutty Collins £10 was sent into circulation, when the colours used in the simultan pattern on the back of the were changed to green/mauve/green.

A further change was made early in October 1920, when the structure of the serial number was changed - a single letter suffix was used rather than a single letter prefix.

One further change was proposed in December 1920, but was not implemented. As responsibility for Australia's currency notes had been assumed by the Note Issue Department of the Commonwealth Bank from December 1920, Australia's banknotes were technically incorrect when they stated that the notes were payable in gold at the Commonwealth Treasury, when they were now technically payable at the Head Office of the Commonwealth Bank. 2

A Decision to Over-Print the Notes Was Overturned

A proposal for that change in responsibility to be over-printed in black ink was agreed to by the Board of the Note Issue Department on January 21st, 1921. The first denomination to be updated after the date of that was the £1, and an entirely new design for that denomination was tabled on February 25th 1921. After the reality of that change became apparent, the Note Issue Department decided that it would be more prudent to update each of the denominations at the same time, which led to the "Harrison Series" notes being introduced from 1923.

The "Harrison Series" designs were approved by the Note Issue Branch on September 8th 1922, they were authorised for issue from June 5th 1923. One of the conditions imposed by Treasury regarding the introduction of the new notes was that "notes of the old issue were to be kept in circulation until they were automatically withdrawn on account of wear and tear." 3

Equivalent to Three Weeks Wages

The Cerutty Collins £10 notes were phased out by £10 from the Harrison series from May 4th 1925. They were on issue when Armistice was declared, and in the years when Australia recovered from the incredible cost of World War I. Reserve Bank of Australia statistics show that the average wage was slightly more than £3 per week at that time, and that the equivalent rate in 2018 is around $1,628. This then means the Cerutty Collins £10 note had an equivalent purchasing power of around $5,000 in 2018 terms.

When we remember that any of these notes still in existence survived the ravages of the Great Depression without being circulated into oblivion or destroyed, it is remarkable to see them in any quality today.

1 - Vort-Ronald; Mick, "Australian Banknotes", Self-published, Whyalla (SA), 1983, p 98.

2 - op cit, p 127.

3 - ibid, p 127.

Highlights of the Claude Ball Collection:

Lot 2867 

 R20b £1 (Rainbow) good Fine with repaired corner 

 Estimate: $3,500

 Hammer Price: $3,600

Lot 2868 

 R20b £1 (Rainbow) Very Good 

 Estimate: $4,500

 Hammer Price: $4,500

Lot 2941 

 R35 £5 (No mosaic) Very Good 

 Estimate: $5,000

 Hammer Price: $9,400

Lot 2972 

 R51 £10 good Fine 

 Estimate: $12,500

 Hammer Price: $15,000

Lot 2973 

 R52b £10 good VF 

 Estimate: $10,000

 Hammer Price: $16,400

Lot 2994 

 R65b £20 Fair 

 Estimate: $6,000

 Hammer Price: $6,100

Lot 2995 

 R67c £50 EF 

 Estimate: $10,000

 Hammer Price: $16,300

Lot 2996 

 R67c £50 Fine 

 Estimate: $5,000

 Hammer Price: $7,300

Lot 2997 

 R69b £100 good Fine 

 Estimate: $8,000

 Hammer Price: $15,100

There are just 31 examples of this note in private hands in total, this note is tied as being in equal finest quality for both this type and for this variety. It is the McDonald Pocket Guide "plate note".

By way of comparison of the quality of this note against those held in the most renown collections of Australian banknotes, the example in the famed Deutscher collection graded Very Fine; the example owned by Dr Alan Nicholson was graded Very Good; while the example held by Mick Vort-Ronald also graded Extremely Fine.

The most recent auction result for a note in this quality was back in September 2010, when this note was last offered via public auction.

Nothing in comparable grade has been seen since then. The quality of all notes seen since that time are as follows:

2017 - The highest graded example seen was in Fine condition
2016 - The highest graded example seen was in good Fine condition
2015 - The highest graded example seen was in about VF condition
2014 - The highest graded example seen was in Very Good condition
2013 - The highest graded example seen was in about VF condition

This note is unequivocally regarded as being the finest of two known examples for this type and variety. It is a premium example of an incredibly rare historic Australian banknote, from the era when our notes could be exchanged for solid gold coins.