Home News Essays by Australian banknote designers offered for sale

Essays by Australian banknote designers offered for sale

The work of three Australian graphic designers, Bruce Weatherhead, Bruce Stewart, and Max Robinson, form the basis of a different form of paper money collecting introduced recently by Universal Coin Co. of Melbourne, Australia. Called the Banknote Designers Collection, it is an assemblage of 67 examples of die proofs, essays, and concepts for Australian currency that are for sale.

 

Among the intriguing designs are some concepts for the 1995 $50 polymer issue by Bruce Weatherhead (1939 to 2011), one of the fathers of modern Australian graphic design (his foray into currency design seems almost an afterthought to his main body of work). His proposal featured explorer Sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki and the 19th century Tasmanian icon Lady Jane Franklin.

 


1995 Fifty Dollar Polymer Series, Lady Jane Franklin and Paul Edmund de Strzelecki (159 x 60 mm).
Artist: Bruce Weatherhead.



1995 Fifty Dollar Polymer Series, Lady Jane Franklin and Paul Edmund de Strzelecki (159 x 62 mm).
Artist: Bruce Weatherhead.



1995 Fifty Dollar Polymer Series, Sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki and Lady Jane Franklin (155 x 77 mm).
Artist: Bruce Weatherhead.



1995 Fifty Dollar Polymer Series, Lady Jane Franklin and Paul Edmund de Strzelecki (164 x 77 mm).
Artist: Bruce Weatherhead.

 

 

 

Bruce Stewart designed the $5 note issued in 1992 as well as the $100 note issued in May 1996. The $100 note has portraits of the soprano Dame Nellie Melba and World War I era civil engineer and military commander Sir John Monash. Four prototypes of the $100 note quite different from his final version are offered.



1996 One Hundred Dollar Polymer Series, Sir John Monash Concept #1 (150 x 62 mm) and #2 (155 x 64 mm).
Artist: Bruce Stewart.



2001 Ten Dollar Centenary of Federation Commemorative Concept Note Sir Henry Parkes and Catherine Helen Spence (136 x 65 mm).
Artist: Bruce Stewart.



Five Royals Banknote Proposed Design, Queen Elizabeth II (153 x 75 mm). Price: 145,000.00 AUD
Artist: Bruce Stewart.



Dame Mary Gilmore Lead Pencil Engravers Portrait – 1993 to current Australian Ten Dollar Note (250 x 220 mm) and King George VI Die Proof – 1938-52 Commonwealth of Australia Series (70 x 90 mm).
Artist: Bruce Stewart.

 

 

A prodigious selection of 47 examples of the work of Max Robinson rounds out the collection. Robinson is responsible for the current $10 note, for which two final stage drawings are included. The others are proposals for the $5 and $100 denominations.

 


1992 Five Dollar Polymer Series, Dame Mary Gilmore and Robin Dods Final Stage Keyline Drawing (142 x 67 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



1992 Five Dollar Polymer Series, Robin Dods and Dame Mary Gilmore (126 x 68 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



1992 Five Dollar Polymer Series, Robin Dods and Dame Mary Gilmore (146 x 72 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



One Hundred Dollar Paper Series Concept I, Captain John Hunter and Australian Wildlife (150 x 82 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



One Hundred Dollar Paper Series, Blue Whale and Abel Tasman (165 x 83 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



One Hundred Dollar Paper Series, Matthew Flinders and Australian Wildlife Concept (165 x 82 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



One Hundred Dollar Paper Series, Batavia/Abel Tasman and Platypus/Pelican (165 x 82 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



One Hundred Dollar Paper Series, Captain Cook/Abel Tasman (165 x 82 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.



1992 Five Dollar Polymer Series, Robin Dods Preliminary Artwork (180 x 215 mm).
Artist: Max Robinson.

 

Asking prices range from $150 Australian ($110 U.S.) to $145,000 Australian ($106,000 U.S.) for an earlier item, a 1960s era original artist’s assay of a proposed “Five Royals” denomination with Queen Elizabeth on the face. The “royal” is an interesting and very short-lived denomination. The name was one of the proposals in 1963 for the name of the new decimal currency slated to debut in 1966. The name was met with as much as 95 percent disapproval and outright scorn and was quickly rejected in favor of the “dollar.” This note is one of its few physical manifestations.