“It is a great responsibilty [sic] to be the only woman here..."
May 13, 2019 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Australia’s Reserve Bank has confirmed that 46 million $50 notes that entered circulation in October 2018 were printed with a typo that misspells "responsibility" in one of its microprint security features: an except from a speech by MP Edith Cowan, who was Australia's first female member of parliament. The $50 note features Cowan on one side and David Unaipon (Ngunaitponi), an inventor and Australia's first published Aboriginal author, on the other. This is the full text of Cowan's speech to the Australian Parliament (pdf) that's quoted in the microprint. The microprint on the flip side contains an excerpt from Unaipon's Legendary Tales Of The Australian Aborigines.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The obvious question is whether anyone will step up, do the right thing, and take responsibilty responsiblity reponsibility the blame for it.
posted by The Bellman at 2:49 PM on May 13 [21 favorites]


On the plus side people are actually reading their money now.
posted by srboisvert at 3:06 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Fell down a rabbit hole of looking through the RBA's Banknote website. So they apparently can't spell, but nice to see more detail on the new raised tactile accessibility features on the notes to help the visually impaired. Given her life long contributions to social causes including the welfare of the migrants, advancement of women's rights, social justice, and infant health - pretty sure she'd be ok with a micro sized spell mistake (on the first run) if the new notes help the less-advantaged.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:25 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Also wonder how many bank note collectors were praying the mistake was limited to a much smaller batch to make them more valuable.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:28 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


sponsitility is the only way to spell it. #rugrats
posted by nikaspark at 3:41 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


nice to see more detail on the new raised tactile accessibility features on the notes to help the visually impaired

Totally! Also, because Australia pioneered polymer notes, the tactile features incorporated into the new series have a longevity they don't on paper notes.

Here in Canada, our old paper notes started including tactile accessibility features in 2001, but the raised-dot system broke down pretty quickly once the note was in circulation. Owing to extensive counterfeiting of the last paper series of Canadian banknotes, the Bank of Canada imported the Australian polymer banknote technology. As a result, the raised dots on our currency last a lot longer now.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:42 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


As an Australian, I enjoy saying how great it is that both Canada and Mexico have polymer banknotes so that we can all show Americans what good banknotes look like

It's taken counterfeiters decades to get close to counterfeiting polymer banknotes, and it's completely out of reach of most small-time operations. Getting the window right, alone, is tough. They don't break down easily, they survive the wash, they can support all sorts of accessibility features... some of the Euro banknotes are really nice but you can do some gorgeous things with polymer.

Americans tend to complain that it looks like monopoly money, but I don't know if Americans should really be talking about banknote design when the only visual or tactile difference between their banknotes is WordArt on the $100. You could at least make them different sizes, guys.
posted by Merus at 6:31 PM on May 13 [11 favorites]


Americans tend to complain that it looks like monopoly money, but I don't know if Americans should really be talking about banknote design when the only visual or tactile difference between their banknotes is WordArt on the $100.

I have never found confirmation so this may be pure rumour, but I have heard tell of an American counterfeiter who thought to make use of the similarities in appearance by snipping the corners off hundred-dollar bills and skilfully attaching them to de-cornered singles.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:42 PM on May 13


That does sound like a rumour to me, because wouldn't you need a whole lot of $100 notes to make counterfeit $100 notes? I guess if tracking ink had exploded all over the original 100s it'd make sense.

Edit: it didn't occur to me that you could still use the original $100 if you took off one corner. Also, I found an example: https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/2islsr/coworker_noticed_this_interesting_bill_in_the/
posted by Merus at 8:28 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


America: also wonders why the various one dollar coins they put into circulation aren't 'popular' while they continue to print one dollar bills.

America: also makes pennies. for some reason. people literally leave them in little receptacles at gas stations when given them as change, refuse to pick them up if they drop them, and don't take free pennies when offered by gas stations.
posted by el io at 12:18 AM on May 14


And the copper they contain is worth more than $0.01, and climbing, so minting them is a straight loss.

(And before you get any bright ideas, it’s illegal to buy them and melt them down for the copper. But there have been busts of operations doing this, and there will probably continue to be.)
posted by thoroughburro at 6:08 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


American pennies haven't been pure copper since 1982. The current copper-plated zinc pennies also costs more than $0.01 apiece to mint, but the metal value is not high enough to be worth hoarding pennies to melt down.
posted by ardgedee at 6:27 AM on May 14


Yes, but there are an abundance of pre-1982 pennies which the grey market still finds irresistible. And they’re still a loss to mint.

We really need to get rid of them.
posted by thoroughburro at 6:36 AM on May 14


America: also wonders why the various one dollar coins they put into circulation aren't 'popular' while they continue to print one dollar bills.

The short answer is that very powerful senators like Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy had currency supply companies like Crane Paper in their districts. While they didn't fight the dollar coin, they fought against anything that would decrease the demand for paper currency.

It's all politics and nothing do to with how the public would have reacted to it. There are two countries left on the planet with a paper 1-unit note and we're one of them. Everyone else adapted just fine.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:29 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Now I'm curious, what's the other one?
posted by traveler_ at 7:21 PM on May 14


To bring this back to Australia a bit, this post led me down a bit of a rabbit hole and to discover that in fact Australia also had a pre-decimal £sd currency that worked the same way as Britain's, i.e. 1 Australian pound = 20s and 1s = 12d, so £1 = 240d, with all the fun denominations thereof, like the sixpence, florin (2 shillings/24 pence) or half crown (5 shillings/60 pence/quarter of a pound)

Of course, now that I've reflected on it it makes sense that that would be the original system, since presumably the currency was introduced by the British, but it had never occurred to me before.

I also learned that the originally announced name of what is now the Australian dollar was the "royal" but that this was unpopular and thus replaced with the "dollar" name. Somehow doesn't have quite the same ring!
posted by andrewesque at 1:43 PM on May 15


It's spelled "Berenstain."
posted by duffell at 5:31 AM on May 18


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