A counterfeit banknote!
During the last “Numizon Sale # 3”, we offered for sale lot # 311430 corresponding to a copy of 1,000 francs type 1962 (Ref. Pick: # 2a or The Banknote Book: # B101a). This note was put into circulation in 1962 by the Monetary Council of the Republic of Congo. The note takes the design of the 1,000 francs type 1953 (Ref. Pick: # 29 or The Banknote Book: # B309) issued by the Central Bank of the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi with however two important modifications: the note is this time dated 15.02.62 printed in black and the watermark is overprinted with the mention "Issue of / Monetary Council / of / Republic of Congo" printed in blue:
On February 17, 2021, i.e. 3 days after the end of the sale, we received an e-mail from one of our subscribers (1) telling us that the banknote numbered CM978116 is a contemporary fake, our correspondent specifying in his message that 'it has an identical copy but numbered CM978138:
Luckily, lot # 311430 remained unsold, an expertise of the banknote (illustration B) became opportune by comparing it to a perfectly authentic copy (illustration A):
Dear readers, we failed to detect this fake and we apologize ... so here are the results of our analysis. We hope that these will give you the right reflexes to observe so that you will be able to detect any possible counterfeits yourself in the future:
- The real banknote number is 7 digits, not 6 digits, and must be between CM0000001 and CM9999999 (2). The smallest known number in our archives is the copy numbered CM0028733 (3) and the largest known number is CM9884539 (4).
- On the fake banknote, the numbers are not aligned with the CM prefix and do not have clear outlines (slight gray burrs on the edges).
- In addition, our copy has a significant shift from the pink background to the right which overflows into the right margin. Be careful, this color registration error is not systematically observed on all fakes.
- The colors on the counterfeit banknote are more contrasted. We observe that the blue overprint turns purple and that the pink overprint turns rather red!
- Finally and unfortunately more serious, we scanned our counterfeit banknote at 1200 dpi in order to detect the possibility of digital printing, a fairly common process for contemporary counterfeit banknotes. Only it is not! On the contrary, the print quality of the note is incredibly elaborate, as the printing raster is identical to the real banknote, which is rare enough to point out. You will therefore need to be extra vigilant when you have a copy in hand:
Above: enlarged detail of the left side of the front of the counterfeit 1,000 francs type 1962.
Rely on the number of the note you want. If this starts with CM978xxxx, then beware! Finally, are these fakes of interest to the collection? Without a doubt, but only a few dozen euros or dollars. The authentic 1,000 francs type 1962 oscillates in sales between € 20 in G grade and € 150 in VF+ grade. But from the XF grade, the prices go up because the bannote is rare in good quality (5). A copy numbered CM0057251 and graded PMG 45 sold for $ 384 at Heritage Auctions in October 2020 (lot #88039).
It is therefore tempting for forgers, to offer counterfeits in perfect grade, the quote in UNC grade of the 1,000 francs type 1962 being, in our opinion, undersized in the reference catalogs (6).
(1) A big thank you to Mr. Gijs Vercoutere for alerting us to our expertise error.
(2) The 1,000 francs type 1962 was issued in 9,999,999 copies.
(3) Picture observed on Facebook in 2019.
(4) Copy in VF grade offered for sale at € 229 by Sincona in 2018 (lot #5027).
(5) 52 banknotes are graded in the PMG Population Report, but we only observe a single PMG 67 EPQ grade note, a single PMG 65 EPQ grade note and a single PMG 64 grade note!
(6) Rating in UNC grade: $ 375 in The Banknote Book and $ 525 in World Paper Money (WPM).
- « Congo Democratic Republic » by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
- « Congo Democratic Republic » Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th edition (page 260).
- Photos archive : Facebook, Heritage Auctions, Numizon and Sincona.