The Reserve Bank of Australia has confirmed a misprint on millions of new $50 bills, where the word "responsibility" was misspelled on the micro-text.
The mistake can be found on the supposedly "new and improved" banknotes that the RBA released in October last year. The bills have been fitted with several new technologies meant to provide better accessibility and prevent attempts at counterfeiting.
Misspelled $50 Bills
The newly printed $50 bills features an image of Indigenous writer and inventor David Unaipon on one side, and an image of Australia's first female Parliament member Edith Cowan on the other. These two historic personalities have been part of the banknote since 1995.
Both sides of the banknote contain micro-text. Unaipon's side shows an excerpt of his popular book, "Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines," while Cowan's side shows a few lines from her first ever speech after assuming her seat in Parliament.
The misprint can be found in the text of Cowan's speech.
"It is a great responsibilty [sic] to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here," the micro-text reads.
The misspelled word has been unintentionally included in 46 million $50 banknotes, which have a total value of A$2.3 billion ($1.6 billion).
In 1988, Australia became the first country in the world to replace its paper banknotes with bills made from polymer. The technology was developed by the RBA, in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the University of Melbourne.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to using polymer banknotes. One of these is they allow for better security features that help make the bills easier to verify and harder to counterfeit. They are also 2.5 times more durable compared to paper notes.
Polymer helps make banknotes waterproof, and protects them from dirt and moisture.
However, polymer bills feel noticeably different than paper notes and they tend to be slippery when held. These bills are also harder to fold. Force-folding them will result in a crease along the fold line.
They are also prone to fading, as seen during a polymer banknote test in Nigeria in 2013. The bills reportedly started to fade a few years following their launch. This left many sellers in the country to reject the banknotes in transactions.
Reserve banks would have to spend more to print polymer banknotes compared to using paper bills.
For the new $50 bill, the RBA incorporated four raised bumps on each banknote to help people identify it.
Australia uses different colors and sizes for its banknotes precisely to make them more easily identifiable, even for those who have vision problems.
The $50 banknote is considered to be the most widely circulated bill in the country, according to the RBA.
The bank reserve has already rolled out updated versions of the $5 and $10 banknotes. It plans to release a new $20 bill by October this year.