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Rubbing Shoulders With Mao: How to Spot a Fake 100 Yuan Note


By Feng Jie

In recent days, domestic media have been reporting that a new batch of fake 100 yuan notes have entered circulation in some areas of the country.

The serial number of the new fake 100 kuai notes start with “TJ55”, “AZ88”, “WL15” and “YX86.”

 However, according to an announcement posted to the official website of the People’s Bank of China on the evening of Aug 17, the “new” fakes have actually been in circulation since September 2010.

 The central bank notice states that the counterfeit notes do not represent a new breakthrough in terms of the production techniques used to produce them and also says that the notes can be identified by both counterfeit-cash detecting machines and can also be detected by the human eye.

 The central bank published the following check-list of 11 features of the counterfeit notes:

 1. All of the fake notes that begin with these 4 serial numbers are produced on offset printing machines

2. The paper that the notes are printed on is smooth and crispy and doesn’t glow when placed under an ultraviolet light because there’s no fluorescent fiber in the notes

3. The transparent Mao visage that appears in the white area of the note is unclear and has no depth, the counterfeiters simply printed the image on the surface of the note with white ink

4. The fake watermarks on the notes are not as transparent as those that appear on authentic notes

5. The “security line,” the dark visible line that runs the width of the note, is printed on the fakes rather than appearing within the note as it does on real bills

6. The “mini characters” that appear in the top left-hand corner of the side of the note with the serial number on it aren’t clear on the fake notes. The mini characters refer to the tiny “100 RMB” that appears repeatedly within the small pink 100 that appears on the top left-hand corner of the bill.

7. There’s a mismatch between some of the patterns printed on each side of the fake bills

8. The small 100 that appears on the bottom left-hand side of the note (again, on the side with serial number), should be printed with color-changing ink. as the fakes simply use green ink, the number won’t change color. If the note is real, the color of the 100 will change from blue to green as you adjust the angle from which you look at it

9. There are irregular gaps between the digits that make up the serial number (in the bottom left-hand corner) of a fake note

10. On genuine notes, if you rub Mao’s shoulder or the two small reverse-L-shaped lines that appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the note, you’ll notice that they stick out. On some fake notes these will feel smooth if you rub them, on other fakes it will feel as they’ve been engraved

11. Directly to the right of the green/blue 100 in the bottom left-hand corner is another invisible “100” that only appears when the note is held up to the light. Some fake notes do not use colorless fluorescent ink and thus you will not be able to see this 100. Some of the fakes attempt to show the invisible “100” but the quality is noticeably inferior to that of a genuine note.

 Links and Sources

The Peoples Bank of China: 关于“TJ55”“AZ88”“WL15”“YX86”冠字号码100元假币有关情况的通报

 Black and White Cat: How to tell if your 100 yuan note is fake

People’s Daily: Image


This article was edited by Paul Pennay

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