Reddit user discovers ‘invisible’ image hidden on Australian banknotes

Social media users have gone into a spin after a detective discovered that every Australian banknote features a hidden image. But that’s not the only secret to our ratings.

Reddit users went into a spin on Monday after a detective discovered that shining a UV light on Australian banknotes revealed hidden images of birds.

Reddit user C_Horse21 made the discovery with a $100 bill and shared it online, quickly racking up more than 2,400 “upvotes” and sending comments into a frenzy.

“Man, US banknotes are boring as f**k,” one user said, decrying the lack of national treasure-style secrets on the iconic US greenback.

“To everyone, everyone tried the new $5 when it came out, our banknotes are actually pretty darn cool,” said another.

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Each Australian banknote includes three ‘invisible’ features – a bird, a serial number and a year of printing – created using fluorescent inks.

Each rating has a different bird: the spiny-billed honeyeater ($5), cockatoo ($10), kookaburra ($20), black swan ($50), and owl ($100).

While the hidden bird may have caused a conspiratorial-like wave of excitement, it is actually one of many unique security measures built into the design of our tickets to combat forgery.

Read on for a detailed list of the other Easter eggs contained on the loose five sitting in your pocket, as well as how to spot a fake.

The feel of the note itself

Perhaps the best way to spot a counterfeit note is to feel the main number at the bottom of the note.

The slightly raised impression can be felt by running a finger over the portraits and numbers.

Since all the notes are made of polymer, a distinctive type of plastic, they should also spring back into place after being crumpled in your hand.

The polymer note, jointly developed by the Reserve Bank and CSIRO and introduced in 1988, was a world first in the monetary world and enabled a range of protective features to be installed which made Australian banknotes the most secure in the world .

It is now used by more than 50 countries, including Russia, Canada and the United Kingdom, with regularly updated designs rolling out here in Australia.

The Windows

The transparent top-to-bottom window that runs down the center of any banknote is a feature of Australian hard currency.

However, the multiple images in the window aren’t just decorative – they help you identify a dirty ticket.

The star-shaped image at the top of the window should appear raised or indented when you tilt the note.

The same “tilt test” can also be applied to the underlined flying birds in the window, which should appear to move their wings and change color when the note is moved.

The more detailed colored bird included in the viewport should also change color when the note is tilted.

A seven-pointed star in the lower right window of the note should also be clearly visible when held up to the light.

Numbers (and colors) don’t lie

If there is any doubt about the validity of your money, try to inspect the small building at the bottom of the central window.

The denomination of the note must be visible on the inside when tilted.

This number should reflect when the note is moved, appearing both forward and backward depending on how the note is tilted.

Another telltale sign of a genuine note is the “rolling color effect”, with a kaleidoscope of colors visible inside the bird in the upper left corner of the beak.

This “color test” is also where the UV ink comes into play, with the “secret” bird discovered on Reddit visible on real notes when held under a UV blacklight with a length of wave centered around 365 nm.

If you try this at home and any of the above tests fail, you better turn your note over to the local authorities as soon as possible.

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