Counterfeit Detection: Continental Currency $60

Posted on 2/20/2024

A contemporary British fake of a Revolutionary War note is sophisticated but not perfect.

During the Revolutionary War, both the Continental Congress and individual colonies issued paper money in order to pay for the costs associated with the war. Continental Currency depreciated quickly; notes were worth only a fraction of their face value by the end of 1778 and ceased to circulate a few years later.

This depreciation happened because of two reasons: Too many of the notes were printed, and a British effort to undermine the economy of their rebelling colonies by flooding them with counterfeit currency was highly successful. Today, both genuine and contemporary counterfeit examples of Continental Currency are eagerly sought by collectors.

PMG certifies both genuine and contemporary counterfeit Continental Currency notes, and they are sometimes offered side by side in the same auction. A good example are genuine and contemporary counterfeit examples of the September 26, 1778 $60 note, both offered by Heritage Auctions in a sale on February 25, 2024.

Click images to enlarge

The British counterfeiting effort was quite sophisticated for its day, but it wasn't perfect. For the $60 notes shown here, there are some telltale signs that distinguish contemporary counterfeits from genuine notes. On a genuine note:

  • The dot in the 'i' in 'receive' should line up with the 'i' below it.
  • The bottoms of the 'x' and 't' in 'Sixty' should not be lined up.
  • The first 's' in Congress curls downward at the top, rather than pointing upward.

Close-ups of the genuine note (left) and a contemporary counterfeit, with areas of interest highlighted.
Click images to enlarge

Counterfeiters will target any note that has the opportunity for profit, even contemporary counterfeits. The notes shown in this article are likely to sell for hundreds of dollars. To be confident that your note is a genuine collectible, remember that PMG backs its determinations of authenticity and grade with the PMG Guarantee.

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