Paper Money

Reserve Bank of Australia $50 note has spelling error

The Reserve Bank of Australia printed 300 to 400 million of its new $50 notes, the country’s most popular denomination, and 46 million of them are already in circulation.

Each of them, thanks to a previously unseen spelling mistake, is now an error note.

The news was broken on May 9 by the Triple M radio station for its “Hot Tip for the Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire” segment. It was revealed by an anonymous caller whom the hosts compared to “Deep Throat” and decided to call “Archie” in honor of England’s new royal baby.

The error is in the microprinting and cannot be seen except under magnification. It appears on the face, above the shoulder of Edith Cowan, a social reformer and the first woman to serve in an Australian parliament. Cowan said in her first speech to the Western Australian Parliament in 1921, “It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here.” 

The oops moment occurs in the word “responsibility.” It is missing the third “i” and reads “responsibilty.” Archie said he did not discover the error himself but that his source “comes from as close to the making of the note as can be” and that the person in charge of production got promoted. Prior to production, he says, even when an image of the note was projected to the size of a kitchen table for visual inspection, no one noticed the mistake.

The caller said the error was recently discovered and that distribution had apparently been stopped. Speculation is already rife about how much the mistake will be worth. Jim Noble of Noble Numismatics in Sydney said that with all the $50 notes in circulation, “There is no premium for the notes now in circulation but many people will probably put a few away virtually taking some out of circulation. eBay traders will try to cash in.” 

The Reserve Bank of Australia says the error will be fixed in its next print run, due to be released in October.

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments