What to do with damaged or old currency
Returning old or damaged currency
The Reserve Bank is liable to pay on any currency it issues, provided it is not so badly damaged that it is unrecognisable. In extreme cases, individual assessments may need to be made.
The Reserve Bank will only pay face value for currency that has been legally issued for use in New Zealand – not foreign currencies. We cannot provide advice about the value of banknotes or coins as collectable items.
To receive payment for old or damaged currency from the Reserve Bank, you need to return it to our office in Wellington.
If you are bringing or sending old notes or coins to the Reserve Bank, please print and complete the following form:
- The Reserve Bank only pays face value and doesn’t offer advice on the value of currency as collectable items.
- Contact a numismatic dealer if you think the currency may be worth more than face value.
- The Reserve Bank does not accept foreign currency.
- Claims must be paid into a bank account.
- Currency can only be returned to the Reserve Bank in Wellington.
- Currency returns may take 10-20 working days to process.
- Any claims of $1000 or more will need to be discussed with a Currency Officer.
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
PO Box 2498
You can send old or damaged currency along with a filled out form to our office in Wellington. We urge you to first check the terms of carriage with the courier company you use. Different companies have different rules about what they transport.
Any cost involved in sending the currency to the Bank must be paid by you.
The Reserve Bank in Wellington is the only office that accepts currency returns.
Old currency and legal tender
Series 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of New Zealand banknotes - $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes are legal tender, regardless of how old they are and what condition they are in.
The current 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2 coins are also legal tender.
- The 2015 Bulletin article 'Payments and the concept of legal tender' explains payments and the concept of legal tender in more detail.
Currency which has ceased to be legal tender (with the date withdrawn from circulation) includes:
- British silver coins (crown, half-crown, florin, shilling, sixpence & threepence) (1.2.1935)
- Series 1 and series 2 banknotes (pre-decimal 1.11.1982)
- 1c and 2c coins (30.4.1990)
- $1 and $2 notes (16.4.1993)
- cupro-nickel 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c (1.11.2006)
The Reserve Bank will always pay face value for currency that has been legally issued for use in New Zealand but has ceased to be legal tender (including pre-decimal currency).
Buying currency from the Reserve Bank
The Reserve Bank only issues currency to the retail banks. We do not sell new or old notes and coins directly to the public.