|Bermuda Sun Â 4/8/2009 11:53:00 AMÂ||Â|
|Our new ‘sideways’ currency is a real head turner
The following is the latest monthly report to the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) by the Senior Public Officer Of Funds (SPOOF).Â Â Â Â
I want to congratulate everybody involved in introducing Bermuda’s new banknotes on their brilliant achievement in the face of huge challenges.Â More than half the money in circulation now is the new colourful banknotes.Â The new notes are so widespread now that several doctors have reported seeing patients with repetitive neck injuries from counting money with the new “sideways” printing.Â The Chief Medical Officer issued a bulletin this week advising the general public, especially those like bank tellers and cashiers who handle large amounts of cash, to hold the money at right angles to the way old money was held.Â
Many large retailers and banks have ordered money cash drawers and cash registers with the slots facing in a new direction, while new ATMs are being installed that dispense banknotes narrow-end first.Â For those depositing money in ATMs, banks have ordered a new supply of envelopes that measure 10×5 inches, instead of the 5×10 inches formerly used. Traditional cheques will fit in the new envelopes if they are inserted end-first.
To speed the transition to the new bank notes, SPOOF has been encouraging the public to spend their existing money as fast as possible, so that it can be replaced by the new banknotes. Because overall spending is down in these troubled economic times, this process has been slower than expected.
Our officers are now removing old bank notes from individual savings and chequing accounts and replacing them with the new sideways money. As a result, many Bermudians using ATM machines are receiving new banknotes from their accounts, even if they haven’t spent all their old money or earned any new money.
It is worth mentioning how important ATM machines were in the process of bringing the new notes to Bermuda. Original plans called for newly-printed banknotes to be shipped to Bermuda in locked cases, but that presented unacceptable security risks.
Fortunately, in this era of electronic money transfers, the BMA was able to have the new money sent to Bermuda over the Internet. Because the BMA does not have its own ATMs, the newly-transferred money was, by special arrangement, collected by BMA employees from Bank of Bermuda and Bank of Butterfield ATMs.
SPOOF would like to thank Lindo’s Family Foods and the MarketPlace stores for allowing us to use their store-based ATMs and parking lots, after hours.
The new banknotes were then driven back to the BMA headquarters where the BMA chairman and directors began the time-consuming process of putting their signatures on each note.
The new banknotes have received widespread approval from the Bermuda public and from numismatists around the world. The latest issue of the prestigious journal Notable Notes described the Bermuda money as “a refreshing new take on lateral printing. “It is reminiscent of Mongolia’s 20 and 50 mongo notes, with the insistent modernity of Israel’s new 100 shekel. But the Israeli money is printed laterally on only one side: Bermuda has shown the world she is willing to go all the way!”
The rival New Note News draws comparisons with the Colombian 50,000 peso note, the new Venezuela bolivar fuerte, and the half-sideways Brazilian real. “No currency we know of, anywhere in the world, combines so many images on a single banknote,” New Note News proclaims.Â
“The $10 note alone bears images of butterflies, turtles, leaping fish, angel fish, a parrot fish, and several other kinds of fish, a sea horse, a sea anemone, coral, the sun or moon rising over the horizon and puffy clouds, several maps of the island, the Commissioner’s House, the Deliverance, a cannon, an anchor, some onions, several scuba divers and a picture of the Queen of England, not to mention a sailboat and hibiscus flower watermarks.
“If you can’t find what you want here, you can look through the transparent oval in the middle of the banknote and see anything you happen to be facing.
“Bermuda is clearly in the business of self-promotion. Its Premier has proclaimed this the island’s ‘Platinum Period’ for tourism, but by the looks of its banknotes, Bermuda tourism is very much in its $10 Period”.
This lavish description puts into perspective minor local grumbling over the use of the wrong species of tree frog on the $20 bill, and the wrong species of longtail on the $50 bill. Given the total number of images, these two small errors are trivial.
Complaints over the small size of the Queen’s head, meanwhile, have quickly been turned to a useful social purpose.
Supporters of the Queen are making their views known by deliberately handing over their money with the Queen’s image prominently pointed towards the receiver. Advocates of independence, on the other hand, are using the exchange of banknotes like a secret fraternity handshake, discretely covering the Queen’s image with their thumbs whenever money changes hands.
SPOOF is pleased to report, in conclusion, that our new banknotes are not merely a new form of money, but a new instrument for marketing tourism, and a new form of political and social exchange.
We have already begun work on designing new Bermuda coins to accompany these banknotes.
These too will be minted with a “sideways” design. The Queen’s profile, and all other images and inscriptions, will be removed from the face of the coin and engraved, instead, along its rim.
Users will no longer have to lay a coin flat on their palms to determine its denomination but can simply glance along its edge.
Minor differences between species of longtails or other animals will not be noticeable, while the image of the Queen will be so small that no change will be needed if Prince Charles ascends to the throne, or even if Bermuda becomes an independent country.
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