By Bernie Bell
When did you last pay attention to the money in your wallet? I don’t mean how much there is of it, I mean what it looks like.
The new RBS £5 notes, have all kinds of interesting images, and a theme of the sea, including mackerel – Scottish fisheries may not be what they were, at one time, but they still play an important part in the economy, especially that of the Islands.
Scottish branding of the fruits of the sea is as important as the branding of, for example, Scottish Beef – so that the buyer knows where their food has come from, and therefore the kind of quality it’s likely to be. And if they like it, they know where to get some more!
Some of the secrets of the £5 notes are only visible under UV light, and this theme has been continued, with the £10 notes.
A delightful image, which doesn’t need UV light, is of two otters, curling in play. And there’s a whole lot more, continuing the theme of all things Scots – there are hidden lines of poetry – as Jackie Morris commented “Poetry against forgery” – there’s an image of a piece of tweed, there are midges – there had to be midges!
And there’s one of the all-too-rare images of women featured on currency, that of Mary Somerville who was a Scottish scientist who became one of the first female members of the Royal Astronomical Society, along with Caroline Herschel. An interesting link with the centenary of the act giving women the vote is that Mary Somerville was the first person to sign a petition to parliament on women’s suffrage, organised by John Stuart Mill – that was in 1868, obviously unsuccessful at the time!
The designers of the £10 notes, also realised how useful it would be to have raised dots included in the note, to help the visually impaired.
There are many more surprises and hidden secrets to be found. These bank notes are woven and crafted, like some kind of monetary spell, which we can carry round in our pockets! Maybe the spell will work and we, as individuals, and Scotland, as a country, will attract good fortune!
Take a look in your wallet……….