By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for Coinweek …….
These are just two of the appalling adjectives being thrown up at the colorful new 2016 Australian $5 banknote. The new $5 note, which incorporates an array of bold colors and “tactile” features (how “chunky” are they?), is designed with the visually-impaired in mind.
But the new $5 bills are turning as many stomachs as they are heads with their vibrant yellow “Prickly Moses” wattle blooms, bright blue banding, and multi-colored Eastern Spinebill bird. Other design elements in peach, pink, and lavender hues only bring further attention to this note of many colors.
The social media comments are predictably snarky, with words like “disgusting” and “atrocity” alternated with charges that the note appears to have been drawn by a “kindergartner.” Some rhetorically ask about the note, “what even is that?”
One comment claims the wattle looks more like “E. coli bacteria” than a plant.
The new $5 note, which hits the streets of the Land Down Under in September, retains the same overall color and size as the nation’s previous $5 bill. And, like all Australian currency, it still bears a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
The design, however, is different and represents the first in a series of banknotes that will pay homage to the Australian wattle plant and a native bird.
Wattle belongs to the genus Acacia, the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia. Wattle is widely distributed throughout Asia and the Pacific, and can also be found in Central America and southern portions of the United States. Australia, which calls the Golden Wattle its national flower, celebrates Wattle Day each September 1.
While Australians go wild for wattle, the $5 banknote has certainly become the butt of jokes months before it blooms in blokes’ pockets – and not just for its nauseating color scheme. Some are poking fun at the image of the Queen, whose updated (and gracefully aging) face strikes some as looking rather “surly,” “digitally altered” or just downright “weird.”
Meme makers have taken to social media with an array of Photoshopped images of the new $5 bill, some replacing the likeness of the Queen with that of the fabulous Dame Edna, an internationally-known character portrayed by Australian satirist Barry Humphries. Other internet parodies of the Australian $5 bill show a crying Michael Jordan or champagne-guzzling Shane Warne occupying the Queen’s portrait space.
If there is one crowd the new $5 Australian note is sure to please, it is financial institutions. The (garishly) new and “improved” $5 banknote is outfitted with an array of unspecified security features designed to help combat counterfeiting. The bill is also made from durable polymer, which is increasingly employed in folding currency around the world but has yet to debut in the United States. While the new bills (perhaps much to the chagrin of many Australians) will be released in significant quantities throughout the end of 2016 and beyond, old $5 notes can still be used as legal tender.
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