Australian Banknote Errors


Although printing errors are not uncommon, very few pass undetected into general circulation. There are as many as 25 different types of errors, but it is the degree of the fault that determines the value. A relatively minor error may be a wrong serial number. More appealing to collectors are notes that are missing all of their colour, or are totally blank on one side.

Errors must be removed during the inspection process, but if not seen during inspection and make it onto the open market, usually command a premium price.


Error banknotes are those with any minor change from the original approved note.

These include :

  • errors made during cutting
  • different serial numbers
  • unprinted part of note
  • overprinted
  • missed or extra colour
  • inverted water mark
  • inverted letter or number
  • shifted print
  • flaps

Michael Vort-Ronald’s publication Australian Decimal Banknotes : Paper Issues [Second edition, 2000, ISBN 0958758093] devotes an entire chapter to printing errors. It gives a thorough explanation of the various kinds of errors and how they might occur. Errors may range from tiny differences to major variations of the original note. This is a very complex area and the 55 page Chapter 10 of Mick Vort-Ronald’s publication is a must have for the library of anyone pursuing this field of collection. The sales history of error notes is another.

Example of banknote with missing colour

Example of banknote with image shift

Example of banknote with different serial numbers

Example of fadeout or ink starvation