First & Last Prefix Letters

Introduction and Acknowledgment

Let me begin by saying [again] that I find the record keeping of Australian Banknote numbers, and other identifying features, by the relevant authorities as disgraceful. Were it not for the diligence and countless hours spent by collectors [including retail sellers] we would all be in a state of continuous dilemna. My many thanks go to D.A.Wood whose selfless hours of investigation have enabled this page to be possible. He has produced two articles for the Australian Coin & Banknote Magazine [August 2009 and November 2011] covering the topic of First and Last banknote prefixes with Plate Identification Letters being a contributing factor in this research. This page is a reproduction of information obtained from both articles as well as other new information that is being constantly discovered and made available. My sincere thanks to Dennis Wood for the considerable work he has put into this area of banknote information.

First and Last Prefix Letters

There are 156 different First and Last Prefixes in the signature combinations from the Coombs/Wilson $1 First Prefix (AAA) to the Fraser/Cole $100 Last Prefix (ZLD).

This also includes the two varieties of the Knight/Wheeler $1 Test Notes

(DBP 000001 – 500000 and DBP 500001 – 999999).

There is another change within a signature combination which gives us an extra First and Last Prefix to collect. From 11th June, 1974, during the signature combination of J.G.PHILLIPS and F.H. WHEELER, on a directive from the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the legend on the top edge of our banknotes was changed from COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA to AUSTRALIA. That meant we now have two different legends to collect with these signatures.

In the $1 note range, I believe all of the listings for all signature combinations are correct.

In the $2 note range, I believe all of the listings for all signature combinations are correct.

In the Knight/Wheeler signature combination we find that the $2 and $5 denominations start with GOTHIC CENTRE THREAD, change to the GOTHIC SIDE THREAD and change again to the OCR-B SIDE THREAD.

We move onto the $5 Knight/Wheeler.

A little note of help when looking for the PREFIX NVC, correctly identified by Greg McDonald as being the LAST PREFIX in both the GOTHIC CENTRE THREAD and GOTHIC SIDE THREAD. Recently I purchased an example of an NVC prefix which had its thread position exactly in the middle of the two approximate thread positions of 55mm and 70mm – 62.5mm. Using a bit of detective work and a great deal of luck, I eventually worked out my purchase was a SIDE THREAD variety. Before 1971 serial numbering on our decimal banknotes started at 000001 to 1000000.

After this time star notes were not printed and banknotes were electronically counted. They were printed in the reverse sequence of 999999 to 000001. With this in mind and knowing the CENTRE THREAD was the first variety that moved to SIDE THREAD variety. I had three other examples of the prefix NVC that I could see were definitely SIDE THREAD. Fortunately their serial numbers were all higher then my troublesome note so by logic it had to be a SIDE THREAD. My highest numbered notes were a pair NVC 592378/379. I am not sure when the change took place but the higher the serial number, the greater the chance it is a CENTRE THREAD. I now have a $5 Knight/Wheeler NVC CENTRE THREAD.

In the $10 note range, I believe all of the listings for all signature combinations are correct.

In the $20 note range, I believe all of the listings for all signature combinations are correct.

In the $50 note range, I believe all of the listings for all signature combinations are correct.

The signature combination of Knight/Wheeler did not appear in the $100 denomination.