In early November of 2000, it was noted
by David Evans in
Calgary, that several
of the then
circulating $5 notes (BC-56c) had a back plate number that
seriously out of place.
Traditionally, the plate number was assigned by the
company that printed the note. Each time a note was printed, new
"plates" or masters were made up for use on the press. To keep
track of this, very small numbers are added to the image and was changed
every time a new plate was prepared. This small number is on both sides
of every bill.
Sometime in 1990, the plate number was changed to be
more of a position number. From that date on, the printing
companies printed sheets of note (40 up on a sheet) with each note
having a different plate number. To add to the fun, there is no
particular pattern to how the "position numbers" are placed on
the sheet (well, at least as far as I can determine anyway). We still
refer to them as plate numbers, even though the term is no longer
But I digress... the error.
this example, the plate number should be
down into the clearer blue area and out of
the grass, like this:
theory on the cause of this was that the blue layer, which prints the
blue plate number was out of registration (alignment) and you could not
tell because there are no other spots on the note where registration is
Unfortunately, assuming (and it is a big
assumption) that the plate number is on the same print layer as the text
of the bird name, we see the following. I have used a triangle lined up
with the bottom left corner of the letter "M"
The back plate number (BP#) on the error note is not in
the same position as the normal note when compared to the letter "M".
it remains a mystery, and the Bank of Canada is not saying much, members
of the CPMS are currently tracking numbers and looking for patterns.