The Background of Fake Money

For this reason, counterfeiting has been referred to as “the world’s second-oldest profession” throughout history. Around 600 B.C., coinage of money started in the Lydian area. Prior to the invention of paper money, base metals were frequently combined with pure gold or silver to create counterfeit goods. It was customary to “shave” a coin’s edges. “Clipping” is the term for this. This kind of collection of precious metals might be utilized to make fake money. A fourrée is a kind of ancient counterfeit currency in which a precious metal is plated over a base metal core to mimic the appearance of a solid metal coin.

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Mulberry tree wood was used to produce money until the 13th century, when paper money was introduced to China. Guards were posted around mulberry woods to regulate access to the paper, and counterfeiters faced the death penalty.

Dante Alighieri named Mastro Adamo in the thirteenth century as a counterfeiter of the Florentine fiorino who was executed by hanging. On October 15, 1690, Thomas and Anne Rogers, an English couple, were found guilty of “Clipping 40 pieces of Silver”. Anne Rogers was burned alive, while Thomas Rogers was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The last of the English Coiners, “King” David Hartley, was apprehended based on information provided by an informant and hanged in 1770. Because counterfeiting was considered a kind of treason against the State or Crown rather than a straightforward crime, severe punishments were applied.

Irish immigrants to London were especially linked to the spending (uttering) of counterfeit money in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, whereas residents were more likely to engage in the safer and more lucrative forms of currency crime, which could occur behind closed doors. Creating the fake money and selling it in bulk are two of these.

Comparably, the phrase “to counterfeit is death” was frequently printed on Colonial paper money in America, which was produced by Benjamin Franklin and others. However, by the early nineteenth century, counterfeiting had become so commonplace that reports from the time, such as those authored by John Neal, suggested that up to half of the US money in circulation was fake. American newspapers started publishing guides to spot fakes around the 1830s. Due to the fact that separate banks printed money, by the 1860s there were almost 5,400 different kinds of counterfeit notes in the US.

Counterfeiting has been employed by nations as a tactical weapon. The plan is to flood the enemy’s economy with counterfeit money, causing the actual value of the currency to collapse. In order to lower the value of the Continental Dollar during the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain took this action. For whatever reason, the British government called the counterfeiters “shovers” because they were able to “shove” the phony money into circulation. John Blair and David Farnsworth were two of the most well-known shovers for the British during the Revolutionary War. When they were apprehended, counterfeit goods worth $10,000 were discovered on them. George Washington became personally involved in their case, even advocating for their torture in order to extract more evidence. Eventually, for their crimes, they were hung.

The Confederate States dollar was widely counterfeited during the American Civil War by Union corporate interests, frequently without the approval of the Union government in Washington. The Confederacy had limited access to contemporary printing technology, and many imitations from the North were produced on superior banknote paper that was obtained illegally. Because of this, fake Southern banknotes were frequently just as good as real Confederate currency, if not better.

American-made counterfeit copper coins were taken from multiple ships flying the American flag in Brazil in 1834. After that, the practice seemed to stop.