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Malaysia 1967 Specimen Set discovered in Australia With the formation of Malaysia on the 16th September 1963 the Bank Negara assumed the role as the central bank of Malaysia and in 1967 became the sole currency issuing authority. To coincide with the issue of the new bank notes a very limited number of 'specimen' sets were issued to important individuals who were seen to have contributed to the the establishment of the Bank Negara. Perhaps the most important set was presented to the founding Governor of the Bank Negara , W H Wilcock who, in 1961, for his work in Malaysia was awarded the title of Dato - Knight of the Most Distinguished Order of the Defender of the Realm. In 1962 Wilcock came to Australia to fill the position of General Manager of the Note Printing Branch of the Reserve Bank of Australia and oversaw the introduction of Australia's decimal currency. In recognition of his senior management role at the Note Printing Branch he received a 1966-67 presentation folder of Australia's first decimal notes (10 notes). He was also remembered in 1988 with a 'specimen' of a 1988 Bi-centennial plastic (1 note). Upon his recent death these items were sold at auction and realized $ 55 ,200 and
$ 6,600 respectively. Strand Coins of Sydney uncovered W H Wilcock's set of 5 Malaysian 'specimen' notes comprising a 1,5,10,50 and 100 Ringgit which was offered in our inaugural auction. The notes were in pristine condition and come in an embossed leather presentation folder bearing the name 'Tan Sri W. H. Wilcock, P.M.N. The set was recently sold for $ 15,000 to a private collector.
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Specimens of Australia's plastic notes in high demandAustralia's plastic note issues that replaced the traditional paper notes were progressively introduced into circulation from 1992 with the release of the 5 Dollar and concluded with the 100 Dollar in 1996. As each new note was introduced a very limited number of 'specimen' bank notes bearing 000000 serials were stamped with a unique control number and presented to individuals who had some connection to their introduction. Typically the recipients included the designers of the notes as well as key bank officials , politicians and honored individuals such as past Governors of the Reserve Bank of Australia. One such recipient was Dr H.C. ('Nugget') Coombs , Governor of the Reserve Bank from 1952 to 1968. Upon his death in 1998 three of his specimen notes bearing the control number 17 were offered for sale and set benchmark prices for these rare issues. At auction the 10 Dollar (1993) issue realised $ 17,250, the 20 Dollar (1994) $ 21,160, the 100 Dollar (1996 ) $ 12,650. Although Coombs was known to have received both the 5 Dollar and 50 Dollar notes, no trace of these 'specimens' could be found in his estate. The 10 Dollar and 20 Dollar 'specimens' were the first public offerings of these issues he the strong prices, although it is rumoured that another example of the 'specimen' had changed hands privately the year before for an undisclosed sum . Also a 5 Dollar 'specimen' note along with another 100 Dollar 'specimen' had already surfaced on the market in 1996 when they were sold for $ 9,000 and $ 12,000 respectively. Investigations reveal that this 5 Dollar came from a South American bank which had originally received the note from Note Printing Australia during a marketing drive to promote Australia's new bank note technology. It is believed that in excess of one hundred 'specimens' were distributed this way although to date only one has surfaced. The 100 Dollar 'specimen' is thought to have come from a person involved in the bank note design. Of all the plastic 'specimens' it is the 50 Dollar that has proved easiest to secure with up to twelve examples coming quickly onto the market in early 1996 from the family of David Unaipon the inventor featured on the note. These sold for in excess of $ 9,000 each at the time. The keen demand and short supply of these issues has pushed polymer specimen notes out of the reach of many traditional collectors. However another much more affordable variety of specimen note has surfaced for this particular series. This variety displays the same 'six zero' serial numbers, but is without the red imprint and individual control numbers typical of presented notes. These unpresented specimen notes became available due to former Reserve Bank Governor Bernie Fraser's patronage of a Sydney charity. The equivalent of one sheet of each denomination was made available for sale between 1993 and 1997. These specimen notes are of equal rarity and currently sell at a fraction of the price of the presented specimens. See Currency-World's Auction site for full details.
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