Bank of New South Wales. One Share of Bank Capital Stock. One Hundred Pounds. BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES.
Bank of New South Wales. One Share of Bank Capital Stock. One Hundred Pounds.

Share Certificate for One Hundred Pounds.
Bank of New South Wales. One Share of Bank Capital Stock. One Hundred Pounds.

Sydney: Bank of New South Wales, 1 January 1824.

Printed share certificate on vellum; 22.5 x 105 mm, completed in manuscript in ink.

Early share certificate from Australia's first bank

For the first thirty years of the colony of NSW, there was no organised and regulated banking system, rather a labyrinthine system of barter, store receipts, promissory notes and an odd assortment of coins, the chief of which was the Spanish dollar. Governor Macquarie, keen to introduce a standardised "sterling" currency, invited a group of "magistrates, principal merchants and gentlemen of Sydney" to participate in forming a colonial public bank. Thus Australia's first bank, The Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), opened for business in 1817. It was one of Macquarie's great achievements, filling an important gap in the requirements of the expanding community.

For the first thirty years of the colony of NSW, there was no organised and regulated banking system, rather a labyrinthine system of barter, store receipts, promissory notes and an odd assortment of coins, the chief of which was the Spanish dollar. Governor Macquarie, keen to introduce a standardised "sterling" currency, invited a group of "magistrates, principal merchants and gentlemen of Sydney" to participate in forming a colonial public bank. Thus Australia's first bank, The Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), opened for business in 1817. It was one of Macquarie's great achievements, filling an important gap in the requirements of the expanding community.
The initial capital for the bank was raised through an offer of 400 shares of 50 pounds each, although the offer was not fully subscribed. Although the bank operated profitably and healthy dividends were paid to its shareholders, the first years were challenging, beginning with a serious loss in 1821 when it was discovered that the Bank's Chief Cashier had made off with half the subscribed capital, none of which was recovered. Hence the need for further share issues, with this certificate for a share of one hundred pounds (no. 116 of the issue) dating from the first day of 1824. It is registered in the name of James Taylor the artist of the famous Sydney panorama, Major James Taylor, and inscribed to him on the verso. He had left the Colony with the Macquarie family in mid-1822, but it is well recorded that he did retain business interests in the colony, where he had been since 1817. The arrival of prints of his panorama were announced in the Sydney Gazette of 3 June 1824: 'J. Paul has just received several sets of beautifully executed coloured prints forming a panoramic view of Sydney, from designs by Major Taylor of the 48th, and now exhibiting in London at Barker's Panorama'.
The certificate is signed by John Piper as President and William Walker and James Norton as Directors, entered by James Phelps and receipted on the back by A.K. McKenzie on 4 March 1824. John Piper was a close friend of Macquarie. He was also a collector of customs duties, and owner of one of the most lavish colonial properties, Henrietta Villa, at Point Piper. James Norton was a prominent lawyer in the colony.
In 1827 a Court of Proprietors decided to convert the Bank of New South Wales into a joint stock company with an offer of 1500 shares of 100 pounds each. This certificate predates that second share offer, and is an excellent and rare example of an original document from the first period of Australia's banking history.

Price (AUD): $5,400.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504504

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