Counterfeit Detection: 1936 China 100 Yuan
Posted on 1/19/2021
Some notes have very deceptive alterations. Other times, the alteration is not particularly good, but it is done in an unsuspecting manner. This China 1936 100 Yuan (Pick# 220), is a little of both. At a quick glance, nothing seems out of the ordinary.
A closer examination of the serial number shows light smudges. This isn’t inherently bad. But it does mean we need to look more closely and try to figure out if the serial number is legitimate or not.
In this extreme close-up of the serial number prefix, it’s apparent that the purple underprint has been redrawn around the ‘A’.
Now, it’s clear that the ‘A’ has been added. Or, if nothing else, the black color of the ‘A’. How is this known? Under this special lighting used by PMG, every black letter and number should look the same. However, since the reaction of the ‘A’ is different this means it has been tampered with.
Let’s move to the back of the note.
Again, everything seems in order. Nothing out of line. Before we leave, we should look at the signatures. Since they are in black ink and the serial number was affected on the front, it would be prudent to check this back black ink as well.
A few things to point out. There is a purple hue around the edges of the black ink. Now this can be seen on some issues, so it isn’t out of the ordinary. But this signature also has a spray of purple ink spots around the signature. This is something that needs a closer look.
Under UV light, those stray ink dots are glowing and there is what appears to be purple lines on the underprint (see the yellow circles). This is a little out of the norm. If the black ink looks the same under special lighting as the ‘A’ did, then we can deduce that this has been altered as well.
Lo and behold, the inks match. On top of that, the purple ink that we saw inside of the added yellow circles is now gone. Someone went to great lengths to make the stray purple lines not be visible to the naked eye.
The question then becomes: Why would someone change the color of a signature? China Pick# 220a has the #11 signature combination (which this note has) along with purple ink on the signatures. Pick 220d is that same #11 signature but with black ink. There is a significant difference in value between the two varieties. Pick# 220a would be around worth $100 to $200, while 220d is worth around $700 to $1,000.
This just proves that whenever there is any amount of money to be made by altering a note, someone will eventually try. Our PMG grading team includes experts in identifying alterations of all shapes and sizes.
As always, any notes graded by PMG are backed by our PMG Guarantee of authenticity and grade.
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