Funny Money

Actually there’s nothing particularly funny about forged bank notes – but that’s exactly what turned up in the village shop earlier this week. The new “polymer” fiver was designed with a number of new security features to make it extremely hard to counterfeit. These include the see-through window and the foil Elizabeth Tower which is gold on the front of the note and silver on the back. Even so, counterfeit copies are already in circulation – as you can see below.



When you see it compared to a genuine note, it’s easy to see which is the fake. The most obvious difference is the missing Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben). It’s also far more scuffed, the colour has worn off in places and there are no silver foil elements. There are likely to be many more like this in circulation – so remember to be vigilant!

This is the Bank of England’s official guide to spotting a real new £5 note:

  • Check the see-through window and the portrait of the Queen.
  • Check the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) is gold on the front of the note and silver on the back.
  • Check the foil patch below the window changes from ‘Five’ to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
  • Check the coronation crown appears 3D.
  • Check the ultra-violet feature.
  • Check the circular green foil patch on the back of the note which contains the word BLENHEIM.
Footnote. During the preparation of this news item I tried to scan both the fake and real fivers but without success. For some reason the scanner simply wouldn’t complete the scan. After about an hour I decided to photograph the fake on the kitchen table instead (which is probably why it looks so bad.). I then found a picture of a real note on the Internet. All I needed to do then was load both pictures into Photoshop and edit them for size, etc. Surprise, surprise, I couldn’t do that either. As soon as I tried I received a warning notice. It told me that the software did not support the editing of banknote images. No wonder the scanner wouldn’t work! Big Brother?

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