Counterfeit Detection: Poland 1810 2 Talary

Posted on 12/21/2021

A closer look reveals this note isn’t a genuine issue from the time of Napoleon.

The Duchy of Warsaw was a client state established by French Emperor Napoleon in 1807. Its territory was divided among other European powers in 1815 after Napoleon’s defeat, and Poland would not be reconstituted as a nation until after World War I ended in 1918.

Poland, Duchy of Warsaw 1810 2 Talary graded PMG 30 Very Fine
Click images to enlarge

PMG has graded dozens of examples of the notes that were issued by the Duchy of Warsaw during its short life. These include the 1810 2 Talary, which has a Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Pick number of A13. Recently, a purported example of this catalog number was submitted to PMG for certification.

Counterfeit Poland, Duchy of Warsaw 1810 2 Talary note
Click images to enlarge

After closely examining the note, the PMG grading team noticed several issues. First, the serial numbers and signatures are handwritten, which is unexpected. In addition, the note is missing the embossed seal that is seen on genuine examples above the signature at the left.

Close-ups of counterfeit (left) and genuine note
Click images to enlarge.

PMG uses Czeslaw Milczak’s Catalogue of Polish Banknotes as a reference, and his “CM” catalog number is included on the PMG certification label for genuine notes. According to his book, these notes were made with intaglio printing coupled with typewritten print, presumably for the serial number.

Close-ups of counterfeit (left) and genuine note
Click images to enlarge.

However, the note submitted to PMG appears to have been created using lithography, which tends to produce less detail than intaglio. Notice the difference in the jewels of the crown at the top of the coat of arms. They appear much less distinct on the counterfeit, while the look of a genuine example is crisp with fine lines.

Examples of Duchy of Warsaw notes have sold for hundreds of dollars at auction. If you want to be sure you are buying a genuine note, please remember that each note that PMG certifies is backed by the PMG Guarantee of authenticity and grade.

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