The first official Commonwealth of Australia £1 banknote, marked No. P 00001, will be on show in the National Library of Australia’s Treasures Gallery, Canberra, from 11 May.

The £1 note was described by an expert numismatist as ‘arguably the most important banknote in Australia’s post-federation history’.

The £1 note was given to Prime Minister Stanley Bruce in 1927 ‘for preservation in the Commonwealth National Library’ by former Prime Minister Andrew Fisher.

The 1913 series of banknotes, of which this £1 note is part, are the first to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms as introduced by the Fisher Government in 1912 to reflect a more nationalistic vision of Australia. It proved controversial at the time because of the absence of an image of King George.

For many years No: P 000001 has been kept in a secure vault in the National Library’s collection in Canberra.

Although the National Library does not actively acquire currency, some pieces, like No: P 000001 have come into the collection with other items, notably personal papers. To ensure these rare and valuable items receive the necessary preservation treatment and appraisal by expert numismatists, the National Library has launched an appeal to help fund this work. More information.

After some detective work by coin experts and National Library staff, checks by an expert numismatist and National Library conservators, No. P 000001 is ready to go on show for everyone to see, for free.

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