Facepalm: Even the best of us make the occasional typo at work, but few people have their errors printed 46 million times. That’s the embarrassing situation facing the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) after a misspelled word was discovered on the country’s $50 note.
The new $50 banknote, which rolled out last October, features a picture of Edith Cowan, the first female member of an Australian parliament.
Behind Cowan's portrait is an excerpt from her maiden speech to the Western Australian Parliament. “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,” is printed several times, each instance missing an ‘i’ from “responsibility.”
The micro-text is tiny, of course, which is why it took six months for it to be discovered, and only through the use of a magnifying glass. According to The New Daily, an anonymous caller to radio station Triple M revealed the mistake that the RBA later confirmed. “The Reserve Bank of Australia is aware of it and the spelling will be corrected at the next print run,” a spokesman said.
Australia’s $50 note is the most circulated in the country, and the one most commonly given out by cash machines. Forty-six million have been printed since the new version entered circulation last year.
When the $50 note first arrived, the RBA said it came with new security features designed to prevent counterfeiting and improve accessibility. While misprints on individual Australian notes have happened in the past, this is the first time a typo has made it through to mass circulation.