Doofus Of The Day #1,042

Today’s award goes to the Reserve Bank of Australia.  A tip o’ the hat to Australian reader Snoggeramus for sending me the link.

An anonymous tipster with eagle eyes, a magnifying glass and, presumably, a little free time, alerted radio stations to a typo on the new $50 banknote that has escaped everyone’s attention since 46 million of them were rolled out in October last year.

The RBA has confirmed the word “responsibility” is incorrectly spelled “responsibilty” – without the third “i”.

And it has admitted the error was brought to its attention back in December.

But it has no intention of withdrawing or recalling the notes from circulation. The error will be corrected in the next print run, the RBA said.

There’s more at the link, including pictures of the error.

That’s going to be interesting.  If the first print run contains a misspelling – which is apparently repeated three times – will counterfeiters reproduce the error as well?  Or will they use the correct spelling, and try to pass off their forged notes as being from the second print run?  If so, they’d better not try to spend them until the latter’s in widespread circulation, or eagle-eyed shop assistants will have a field day spotting the fakes.

On the other hand, I have to admit that the misspelling is in very tiny print indeed, not really noticeable to the naked eye at all.  It’s really only visible to those with a truly anal-retentive obsession with looking for such things.  Even so, it’s an embarrassing slip-up all round, particularly being legal tender and all that – although still not as good (?) as the (literally) sinful typo in the so-called Wicked Bible, a few centuries ago.



  1. And the mad scramble begins to hoard all the bills as the American issued coin with stamping errors become highly prized and great value in the secondary market.

  2. Small, un-obvious spelling errors and printing "defects" (lines not meeting at corners, etc.) are often intentionally used as security features in government documents. Probably the most famous one is the WWII U.S. Army ID card, which read, "For Indentification only–Not a pass." When the Nazis counterfeited them for issuance to the infiltrators at the Battle of the Bulge, they corrected the spelling of "Identification" and accidentally guaranteed that their own spies would be caught and executed.
    So the publicity surrounding this "sharp-eyed observer" may have destroyed a security feature and eased counterfeiting all over Australia.

  3. The modern Australian bills are the most "high-tech" bills I have ever seen. Counterfeiting of them seems almost impossible.

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