Fake error note : Malaya British Borneo 1961 10 Dollars

One thing about collecting error notes is that it is fraud with many dangers. We had one such case recently.  A collector who recently acquired a piece of famous "kerbau" 10 Dollar error note ("kerbau" is Malay for buffalo) and he asked me to take a closer look at it and let him know what I think. Here's the high resolution scan  :

Malaya British Borneo 10 Dollars 1961 Obverse - Fake Error
Figure 1 : Malaya British Borneo 10 Dollars 1 March 1961, Pick #9

The bottom right serial number appears to have been over printed i.e. the "9" has been over printed with a "0".

Such errors is not uncommon. But a routine check under high magnification reveals the following:

Fake error note with 9 made to look like 0
Fig 2. Close up view of the 0 or 9 on the banknote.

At level of magnification, it is easy to see that the tail of the 9 has been extended to make it look at a 0. The ink smudge is pretty evident, compared to the original edges of the 9 which is much clearer. Below is another comparison with another "untampered" 9.

Fig 3. Comparison between the two 9s on the same note at 150x. 
One may think that if it is THAT simple to tell the difference between the real and the fake, then why people still get fooled? The unfortunate reality is that people get fooled all the time. Why? There are several factors are at play here, the main one being people didn't bother to look closely and really check it out. Chances of this happening is higher especially when one is buying from his regular, "trusted" dealer. Now I am NOT saying that every dealer is a cheat but sometimes, the dealer himself also do not realize it, probably because he has just so many items in stock. Granted, one MUST always be very careful when buying error notes and always start with the assumption that it is a PMJ or "Post Mint Job", unless proven otherwise. I am compelled to point out that unless you know how these banknotes and coins are produced, it would be very risky to start collecting these things. You need to do your home work! There are a lot of these PMJs ("Post Mint Jobs") out there. Please be wary of such errors notes being touted as very rare and may be sold at an unbelievably attractive prices. If you encounter any such situation and not sure what to do, you can reach us at help@alphanumis.com or take the photos and Whatsapp us at +60 12 318 3042.

In the mean time, Happy Collecting and watch out for fakes.

P.S. Kudos to the collector who has very graciously allowed me to share this story here.

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