Australia $5 - Recoloured     Click to enlarge
New Note Series : Recoloured Five Dollars - 1995.

A dark blue $10 polymer was issued on 1st November, 1993. Such was the technology at the time that difficulties were experienced in the bonding of some brighter colours to the polymer substrate. It is understood that for the first issues , the base substrate was grey in colour which accounted for the use of subdued colours.

A significant number of people had difficulties in differentiating between the $5 and $10 especially in poor light conditions. By this time, the technology of ink bonding had improved and on 24th April, 1995 a new recoloured $5 was issued. This is generally referred to as the "recoloured" $5. Brightening of this note together with improved handling characteristics enhanced the appeal of the $5.

"In addition to the recolouration, the opportunity has been taken to make two other small changes. First, the numeral "5" has been changed to the rather bolder style used on other new notes in the polymer series" the NNS $20 was out by this time. "Secondly, orientation bands have been added along the top and bottom edges of the note to help in the sorting of large numbers of the note." Quoted from RBA Press Release dated 19th April, 1995.

Security and durability features were unchanged and by this time it was established that the $5 polymer was lasting at least four times longer than the paper $5 it replaced. The "grey" $5 was progressively withdrawn from circulation.

$5 - Recoloured - Front - P51a, Mc303 & R217
>$5 - Recoloured - Front - P51a, Mc303 & R217
$5 - Recoloured - Back - P51a, Mc303 & R217
>$5 - Recoloured - Back - P51a, Mc303 & R217
For Desription and Security Features please refer to Five Dollars - 1992 & 1993.
Narrow Orientation Bands:

Inclusion of these orientation bands directly led to a variety in the 1995 dated notes. Greg McDonald in "The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes" 9th Edition writes "When the orientation bands were included in the redesigned note there were about seven wide lines included. A variety occurred when artwork was used from an earlier proof of the note to make printing plates after a number of the existing printing plates were damaged. The Reserve Bank has advised that about 13,000,000 $5 notes out of a total of 95,000,000 $5 banknotes produced in 1995 exhibit the variation. The variety only occurs in the prefix HC 95 to KC 95". One million notes were not produced for every prefix.

Those with the variation are referred to as "narrow orientation bands" and those without as "wide orientation bands". The bands in question are located at the top and bottom edges of the note to the left of the Queen's portrait and at each end of the gum leaves. On the wide band note there are a series of quite distinct diagonal white lines within the bands; on the narrow band note, there is a greater number of these white lines which tend to devolve into a blurred pattern.

Orientation Bands
Narrow - P51b, Mc303a and R217b
Narrow  - P51b, Mc303a and R217b
Wide - $5 - P51a , Mc303 & R217a
>Wide  - $5 - P51a , Mc303 & R217a
Variations in the guillotining of the sheets into individual notes may result in
varying depth of the bands as split between the top and bottom of the note..

Narrow band notes sell at a premium to the wide band notes.

First and Last Prefixes:

Fraser - Evans signatures:
Issued note dated 1995:     AA 95 (first) to KC 95 (last).
Packaged Note:                 AA 95.
Issued notes commenced with an AA prefix. As far as can be established with certainty, this is the only occasion were this occurs for issued, dated $5 recoloured notes.
Issued note dated 1996:     BA 96 (first) to EA 96 (last)
Packaged note:                 AA 96.

Macfarlane - Evans signatures:
Issued note dated 1996:      BA96 (first) to EA 96 (last).
Yes. There are 1996 dated $5 notes with two signature combinations. Only about 115,000 Macfarlane - Evans notes for each prefix were printed.
Issued note dated 1997:     BA 97 (first) to HB 97 (last).
Packaged note:                AA 97.
Issued note dated 1998:    BA 98 (first) and HB 98 is (last).
No $5 notes were printed for 1999 or 2000 although there are packaged notes dated 1999 as part of a $5 to $100 set.

Test Note - 1997.

It has been recently confirmed by the Reserve Bank that there is a variety of the 1997 $5 to be found in circulating notes within a prefix range of AN to DN.

Test Note - 1997
New catalogue is yet to be assigned.

These notes were printed as test notes to determine the acceptability of a modification to one of the materials in the opacifying ink. This ink is the one used to colour the clear substrate - it is not the final printing ink used for the design features. The latter are commercially available printing inks which need no modification for polymer substrate. It is understood that the opacifying ink is tailored to match the characteristics of polymer substrate.

With the exception of the $100 1996 Test note (refer One Hundred Dollars - 1996 module for details), up to this point the second letter of the prefix for all denominations and years has not been greater than M. For this variety, an additional sheet of 40 notes was printed with prefixes ranging from AN to AZ, BN to BZ and CN to DN. The letter O is used in the prefix structure. These notes do not fit the published prefix range of BA 97 to HB 97 and in practice are an additional printing outside the conventional prefix ranges of AA to AM, BA to BM etc.

As, A prefixes are not used for the dated Queen issued $5 (the 1995 issue is an exception in which the prefix range included AA to AM) these prefixes are unquestionably out of sequence.

Printing of the regular 1997 $5 was interrupted to print these test notes.

The serial number range is 999999 to 990229 or only 9,771 notes per prefix or just over 390,000 notes in total. Approximately 300,000 of the notes were released into circulation in late 2001 as the restriction on the issue of the Queen $5 during the currency of the commemorative Federation $5 was eased. Errors in production and notes used for physical evaluation would account for the difference.

By any measure, 300,000 notes is a remarkably small issue comparing very favourably with the $1 paper DBP of 1976, the blue Dobell $10, the 1995 $5 narrow orientation band and other varieties.

On site testing of the modification to the opacifying ink was positive.

I am advised that there is no discernible difference between notes with and without the modification to the inks. The Reserve Bank advises that they would not have released the notes into general circulation if there were a discernible difference. This is understandable as it would not wish to have different notes circulating concurrently in the event that the different notes impair the integrity of the currency.

The Federation $5 of 2001 is understood to be the first production note for Australia to contain this modification. For several years now, notes for other countries produced by NPA incorporate this enhancement.

Catalogue No:SCWPM P51a & c represent signature varieties. See below.
P51b is the narrow orientation band note.
Mc303 & Mc304 represent signature combinations. See below.
Mc303a is the narrow orientation band note.
R217 & R218 represent signature combinations. See below.
R217b is the narrow orientation band note.
Precise Date of Issue:24th April, 1995 for this recoloured type.
Numbers Issued:Not Available.
Prefix Range:Refer above.
Signatures:1995 to 1996 dated notes: P51a, Mc303 and R217.
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia -
Bernie Fraser (18th September 1989 to 17th September, 1996.)
Secretary to the Treasury -
Edward (Ted) Evans.(24 March, 1993 to 26th April, 2001.)
1996 to 1998 dated notes: P51c, Mc304 and R 218.
Governor: Ian Macfarlane 18th September, 1996 to date.
Secretary : Evans as above.
Colour:Mauve. Referred to as the "recoloured" $5.
Dimensions:130 x 65 mm.
Printer:Note Printing Australia on Guardian polymer substrate.
Specimens:Yes. Official bank specimens exist.
Forty notes in the prefix range BA97 to CA97 with 000000 serial and without "SPECIMEN" overprint were released.
Replacements:No. Australia ceased to issue replacement notes in 1972.
Country Ranking:Australia is the first country to issue a NPA polymer note.
Printing Method:Intaglio.
Sheet Size:40 notes per sheet.
Product:For non - commemorative circulating notes, the product released is outlined under a separate heading at the end of the Australian section.