The Reserve Bank’s $20B disaster: How 400 MILLION new $50 notes were printed before a hard-to-spot typo was revealed in the fine print
- New note was brought into circulation in October 2018, with high-tech features
- The word ‘responsibility’ in a speech by Edith Cowan is misspelled on the note
- Reserve Bank of Australia said there had been 400million of the notes printed
The Reserve Bank printed out 400million $50 notes with an embarrassing spelling error, it has been revealed.
An eagle-eyed Triple M listener spotted a mistake on the note and tipped the radio station off on Thursday.
For all of the note’s cutting-edge features, one basic design component was overlooked as the word ‘responsibility’ is misspelled as ‘responsibilty’ – although it is almost impossible to spot at first glance as the text is extremely small.
A Reserve Bank of Australia spokesman said there had been about 400million of the notes with the spelling mistake printed, with 46million already being used in circulation.
The RBA said they were made aware of the spelling mistake in December.
An embarrassing spelling mistake has been spotted on the new Australian $50 not
‘It is important to remember that this does not affect the banknotes’ validity and functionality – they are legal tender – and we will correct the spelling during the next print run,’ a spokeswoman said.
The new note was brought into circulation in October 2018, with features to help visually impaired people distinguish between different denominations.
The notes also have a top-to-bottom clear window and dynamic features such as a reversing number and a flying bird.
The word is part of a speech by Australia’s first female politician Edith Cowan, whose portrait is featured on the note.
‘I stand here today in the unique position of being the first woman in an Australian parliament. It is a great responsibility,’ she said in her 1921 speech.
The misspelling is included three times on the note as text from Ms Cowan’s speech is repeated in the design.
A Reserve Bank of Australia spokesman said they were aware of the error.
‘The spelling will be corrected at the next print run,’ he said.
For all of the cutting-edge features, one basic design component was overlooked as the word ‘responsibility’ is misspelled as ‘responsibilty’
A Reserve Bank spokeswoman said the notes with the incorrect spelling will not be recalled.
‘The error is being corrected as part of a normal print run so there is no additional cost,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘We are not withdrawing or recalling banknotes with the spelling error. They will remain in circulation until they reach their normal end-of-life.’
Australia’s high-tech polymer notes are among the most difficult in the world to counterfeit due to their extraordinary level of detail. The technology has been exported to other countries.
All of the new $50 banknotes have four tactile dots along the long edge to help blind or low-vision people.
At the time the note (pictured) was introduced, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it had extensive security features
At the time the note was introduced, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it had extensive security features.
Rare currency dealer Jim Noble said notes with the misprint will not be worth more as there are millions.
‘That’s a very embarrassing error,’ he said. ‘The buck stops with those who are producing it. It’s a joke for Australia.’
‘This latest and important upgrade not only marks a hugely significant step towards equal access to society for people who are blind or have low vision, but also incorporates new, innovative security features that further protect against counterfeiting,’ Mr Frydenberg said.
‘The application of the tactile features to the $50 note is particularly important given that it’s the most widely circulated banknote, with 46 per cent of all banknotes in circulation being the $50 note.
‘I believe, the implementation of the tactile features would have made David Unaipon and Edith Cowan proud.’