Counterfeit Detection: Malaya Dollar with Missing Design Elements

Posted on 1/18/2022

If someone was trying to make this seem like a genuine error note, they didn't do a very good job.

The Malaya Dollar was used by British colonies in Southeast Asia from 1939 until 1953, roughly overlapping with the reign of King George VI. The notes that were issued include Pick# 11, a 1941 (ND 1945) Malaya Dollar, of which PMG has certified more than 5,000 examples. An example in a median grade is worth about $200.

Malaya / British Administration 1941 (ND 1945) 1 Dollar graded PMG 58 Choice About Uncirculated.
Click images to enlarge

PMG recently received a submission that included a very strange-looking example of an apparent Pick #11. It appears to have been very heavily damaged. The print on both the face and back has been almost completely obliterated, and there is a strange sheen across the note.

A purported Malaya / British Administration 1941 (ND 1945) 1 Dollar recently submitted to PMG.
Click images to enlarge

Under special light, there is stronger reaction to places where the print would be normally. This could indicate that someone had intentionally damaged the note to make it look like an error, such as a Missing Print Error. While it is difficult to say with certainty whether the damage was intentional or accidental, we can rule out a genuine error.

The purported Malaya / British Administration 1941 (ND 1945) 1 Dollar under special light.
Click images to enlarge

However, when we take a closer look at the serial numbers, something is definitely not right. It looks like someone attempted to re-draw the serial numbers. Unfortunately, the redrawing was not particularly well done.

Close-ups of the serial number under normal and special light.
Click images to enlarge.

The digits are very wobbly around the edges, and the "halo" around each number that should be present on a genuine serial number is completely missing. The trouble with the serial number is particularly obvious when the prefix is placed next to a genuine example.

A genuine serial number and the one on the note that was submitted to PMG.
Click images to enlarge

Another supposed Malaya Pick# 11 that had a serial number issue was the subject of a previous column. In that case, the deception was much more sophisticated, but the PMG grading team found several red flags that exposed the counterfeit note that was attempting to pass as a high-value Solid-8 Serial Number. To learn more about that note, click here.

Related Link
View more PMG Counterfeit Detection articles

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free PMG eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the PMG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List