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Detection of Counterfeit Money, Wilson

Frank J Wilson, Chief, United States Secret Service, Treasury Department

I won’t summarize much of this chapter because of the dramatic changes in our currency. I will, however, address a few interesting points and facts.

One major complication in counterfeit detection education came from the fact we had three kinds of paper money: Silver certificates, United States Notes, and Federal Reserve Notes. Getting people to recognize and identify the differences was the main hurdle to overcome. There were also printed denominations in 11 different dollar amounts ranging from $1.00 up to $10,000 bills.

Because of Wilson’s role, his opinion may have been biased but he states, “I do not know of any type of thief lower in the scale of human equations than the counterfeit passer and manufacturer, who rob the small shopkeeper, who counts his or her profits in pennies.”

In speaking of counterfeit coin detection, he recommends “ringing” your coins on a hard surface. “Genuine coins have a clear, Bell-like ring. Counterfeit coins have a dull thud.” Since 1965, your coins have thudded because they removed the silver from them. In the 1940’s making worthless coins was a crime. In 65, it’s still a crime, just not for the mints.

What methods of counterfeiting are you seeing in your area? How long has it been since you’ve seen a counterfeit coin? Like, share, comment, message. I’d love some feedback.

Chapter 5 will cover Police Courtesy. It should be a little more interesting and I think I’ll have more to contribute.

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