Argentine Austerity, The Journalist-Politician: 500 Australes (Argentina, 1985)-Article

Updated: Mar 13

This Argentinean banknote represents the 6th denomination of the Austral (1985-1991). The Austral was a transitional currency, introduced under Finance Minister Juan Vital Sourrouille (1940-2021). As part of a larger austerity program known as the Austral plan. Which included radical financial measures such as forced debit negotiations, fixed prices, interest rates, and exchanged rates.

The Austral circulated from 15 June 1985, and 31 December 1991. To counter rampant inflation, the Austral replaced the earlier Peso Argentino (Argentine Peso) at an impressive rate of 1000 to 1. Throughout it's circulation, larger notes were added to keep in-step with rising inflation. In 1992, the current Peso Convertible replaced the Austral, at a rate of 1000 to 1.


The observe features a portrait of President Nicolás Avellaneda (1837-1885). Similar to President Bartolomé Mitre before him, Avellaneda was an avid journalist. His early presidency was marked by economic and education reform. Although despite this, his presidency is often remembered for the controversial Conquest of the Desert (1878-1884), which ended Chilean expansion.

At the note's right, are intricate overlapping guilloché patterns. The only significate pattern is the one at the center. Which features a "BCRA" latent image, representing (trans.) the "Central Bank of the Republic of Argentina". At the upper-right is one's of the note's dual-serial numbers (85. 350. 026A). The large number "500" simply represents the note's 500 Austral face value.

To the notes left are mixed horizontal and vertical elements. The vertical header reads the (trans.) "Central Bank of the Republic of Argentina". While near the portrait are a pair of vertical signatures, representing central bank officials. The upper signature represents Bank President José Luis Machinea. While the lower represents General Manager Elias Salama.

Moving top to bottom are the note's horizontal element. There is a row of 3 "bars" with unprinted centers. These are false registration elements, as they lack a positive. While the colorful image to its right, is a true registration element. As backlighting the note, with bright light will complete the full image.

Although doing so will not affect the image below the "bars". As the unprinted "₳ 500" at its center lacks a positive to fill in these gaps. The second serial number can be seen below this image.


The reverse depicts “Progresso” (Progress), an allegory for the Argentine Republic. Progresso is roughly similar to the Brazilian Republica, which also occasionally appears on banknotes. To the left of Progresso is a large horizontal number number "500". And the text "Quinientos Austral", repeating the note's beforementioned face value.

Moving the note's right is note's watermark area. To the far-right is vertical text it reads (trans.) "Argentine Republic". Besides the text is the Argentine Coat of Arms. While at the upper-left of the watermark area, is half of the beforementioned registration element.

The note's watermark is a repeating Sol de Mayo (Sun of May) pattern. Similar to some post-Soviet notes, the pattern is a full surface watermark. Additionally the note's surface is covered in iridescent fibers. When exposed to ultraviolet light these fibers glow green.

Austral Gallery

Gallery will be updated as more banknotes are databased)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 155 mm x 65 mm or 6.10 in x 2.56 in, thinner than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are standard sized protective sleeves.

  • The Argentine Austral ISO code was ARA, it used as it official symbol.

  • The Argentine Austral was subdivided into 100 Centavo, similar to variants of Peso.

2 views0 comments