Counterfeit Detection: 1977 United States $10

Posted on 12/15/2020

Under special light sources, the PMG team discovered a note with a tampered serial number.

This month we are going to examine a series 1977 $10 from the Kansas City district. At first blush it looks like a standard missing print error. However, every error that passes through our doors goes through a strict analysis.

Counterfeit 1977 $10
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The first step is to ‘hit’ the note with Ultraviolet (UV) light. Shinning the UV on the note will highlight potential areas for further examination. UV can show areas that have been repaired, removed, etc. In this case we will be looking at the area where the serial numbers should be (below the District seal at left, and above the Treasury seal at right.)

Counterfeit 1977 $10 under UV light
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After looking at the UV we notice some splotchiness/off color around the aforementioned serial number areas. Our next step will be to loupe one of the serial number areas under good lighting.

Serial number under good lighting
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This is interesting. We can see some remnants of some black ink. The ‘10’ at the bottom left also appears to be worn down. This doesn’t mean that this note has been altered as errors can be tricky. But it should lead us to question this particular piece. Let’s continue on our journey.

Counterfeit 1977 $10 under special lighting
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Under special lighting we can more easily see that there was a serial number on this note in the past. The slight glow around what is left behind the black serial number should not be there. It is most likely caused from whatever was used to remove the serial numbers.

Counterfeit 1977 $10 under side lighting
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This last image (under side lighting) very clearly shows that foul play was used to make a regular note into an “error”. Notice how smooth the paper is where the serial number would be sitting. This isn’t a normal look. This note was tampered with and the serial number was removed after it left the BEP. PMG will not certify altered bank notes.

As always, any notes graded by PMG are backed by our PMG Guarantee of grade and authenticity.

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