Straits Settlements 10 Dollars - A Contemporary Forgery


We're back!  From a long absence because we were working on a book project with Mr. Saran Singh. Now that the book has been published and launched, we can do go back to our usual "business".

For our first blog posting of 2017, we have a interesting piece of a forgery note - a Straits Settlements $10 note, dated 1 January 1935. We believe is may be a contemporary forgery (due to the apparent ageing of the paper), which means that it as created at the time when these notes were legal tender and in active circulation.

Take a look :

Fig 1. : Straits Settlements $10 - Obverse (Counterfeit)




Fig 2. : Straits Settlements $10 - Reverse (Counterfeit)

At first glance this piece can be easily mistaken for the real thing because this is a very good attempt and it certainly look very real. Even the paper is much thicker and of a higher quality. Now let's examine the piece up close. But first, here's a genuine piece from the author's collection :


Fig 3. : Straits Settlements $10 - Obverse (Genuine)
Fig 4. : Straits Settlements $10 - Reverse (Genuine)

In terms of dimensions, both the pieces are very close. The size of the paper is exactly the same however, the plate size of the forgery is slightly smaller by close to 1.5 mm.

Fig 5. : Side by side comparison

Now let's do a close up comparison of a few key areas under 10x magnification :

Fig 6. : Printer name (Forgery)
Fig 7. Printer name (Genuine)


Fig 8. : Portrait of the King(Forgery)

Fig 9. : Portrait of the King (Genuine)

Fig 10. :  Serial number (Forgery)

Fig 11. :  Serial number (Genuine) - the edges of the digits are very crisp and clear

Fig 12. : Signature (Forgery) - Note the overlapping with the title of the signatory

Fig 13. : Signature (Genuine) - no over lap or print over the title of signatory

Fig 14. : Ten (Forgery), note the raise paper of the fold, indicating that the quality of the
paper is comparatively lower than the genuine piece.

Fig 15. : Ten (Genuine)

Fig 16: Tiger (Forgery)

Fig 17. : Tiger (Genuine) - note the fine details of the hair on the tiger's face.
(Note: It is a rather sad looking tiger don't you think?)

It is a very good forgery, it even has a watermark - quite cleverly done.

Fig 18 : Watermark on a forgery $10

But if you look at it up close, the tell tale signs are there i.e. the lack of details and precision in the printing of the forgery piece.

So please be aware that even as far back as 80 years ago there are very skilled and determined forgers out there ! Please do be careful when you are buying these high value pieces and be sure to double check on the details under a magnifier.

Interestingly enough, this exact piece turned up at an auction in Singapore way back on October 2015.



A special note of thanks to one Mr. T for letting us examine this piece up close. In fact this piece makes an interesting collectible too!

In the meantime, Happy New Year 2017 and Happy Collecting!





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