PMG Discovers Hidden Word in Seychelles Banknote Design

Posted on 2/18/2020

The mischievous text is surreptitiously incorporated into the design next to the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) has discovered a mischievous word hidden in the design of the 1968, 1971 and 1974 series of Seychelles 20 Rupees.

Seychelles notes from this era are known to contain coarse language hidden in their designs. On the 1968 and 1974 10 Rupees, the word SCUM can be seen at the bottom-left below the turtle.

Magnified areas of the 10 Rupees and the 50 Rupees.

On the 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973 50 Rupees, the word SEX appears in the palm trees at the right edge (which may be easier to notice if the note is rotated counterclockwise 90 degrees).

The areas where the hidden words can be found are highlighted.
Click on the images to enlarge them.

The 20 Rupees Seychelles note in which the word was found, with the area where it was hidden highlighted.
Click image to enlarge.

The area of coral with the word in question enlarged and colored.

A PMG grader discovered that the word POOP can be found on the front of the 1968, 1971 and 1974 20 Rupees, hidden in the branches in front of the bird’s tail feathers. The identification was confirmed by PMG’s senior graders.

This variety will now be attributed on the PMG certification label by default for no additional fee. PMG already attributes the SCUM and SEX varieties on contemporaneous Seychelles 10 and 50 Rupees notes.

Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean several hundred miles northeast of Madagascar. The words are believed to have been hidden in the designs by someone who supported Seychelles’ bid for independence from the United Kingdom, which was granted in 1976.

Seychelles also issued 5 Rupees and 100 Rupees notes during this era, but to date no hidden words have been found on these notes. Such a discovery may still await a sharp-eyed numismatist.

The 5 Rupees note in which no one has found any hidden words.
Click images to enlarge.

The 100 Rupees without any hidden words. So far.
Click images to enlarge.

The idea that messages can be hidden in plain sight in something as commonly used as banknotes sparks imaginations far beyond the field of numismatics. For instance, currency issued in Japanese-occupied China in the late 1930s and early 1940s sometimes included subversive messages that were widely understood, including an image of Confucius making an obscene gesture.

The “Vampire Notes” issued in Germany in the 1920s have a vampire hidden in the neck of the man featured on the front of the note. This reflected the sentiment that France was sucking the life of out Germany, which was severely affected by postwar hyperinflation.

Some even see a devil’s face hidden in the curls of Queen Elizabeth II’s hair on Canadian banknotes issued in the 1950s. After a newspaper publicized the matter, the portrait was changed.

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