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Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby (Part 4, The Ultimate Flim-Flam)

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Fenntucky Mike

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"Pop quiz hotshot". How many of these notes are authentic?

 

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Since we covered the 50 Shahiv I thought I'd pull out some of my 40 Shahiv contemporary counterfeits and give them the same treatment. Plus, I'm boooored right now (rainy day here in Michigan) and why not spend some time looking at banknotes! Let's get to the hints. 

Front:

As always, we're looking for quality, in the artistry/production of the note and the three "S's" sharpness, separation, and spacing are key in differentiating between a contemporary counterfeit and authentic notes. I'll point out a few areas that I look at first. Similar to the 50 Shahiv, the 40 has anti-counterfeiting grids in the four corners surrounding the central design, these grids should be well defined with straight lines that are evenly spaced forming well defined boxes. The grids will be separated from the wreath by a gap which conforms to the design of the wreath, this gap should be of even thickness as it winds around the wreath.

The central design is of the Ukrainian National Emblem, the Tryzub, and within the two outer prongs is another grid, a diamond matrix with symbol in the upper tip of the diamonds. I believe the symbol to be a Ʌ symbol similar to the Ʌ's on the middle prong of the Tryzub but due to their size they more often than not look like a misshapen circle or blob. As with the anti-counterfeiting grids in the four corners, we are looking for straight lines, even spacing and well-defined diamonds/boxes here as well, along with the symbol being present at the top of each diamond. 

Also, within the Tryzub design is another fine detail, the shading of the Tryzub is broken with fine "feathering" apparent at the base. The feathering lines, unprinted areas within the shading, should be well defined with no ink breaking in and they should be no wider than .5mm. There are two types of these feathering lines, a longer/taller one that extends 3/4's into the shading and a shorter line that extends 1/4 into the shading, these feathering lines will alternate long, short, long short and so on. 

Finally, the wreath surrounding the Tryzub should be full, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves should be sitting on top of one another, overlapping. The design elements should NOT be as individual components, standing alone. The wreath should form a nearly perfect circle around the Tryzub and should be shaded by the circle on the righthand side starting at 2 o'clock and continuing down to the 7 o'clock position. 

As is normal there are more design elements and things to look for when separating contemporary counterfeits and authentic notes such as the perforations, the type of paper used, the notes dimensions, looking at the rest of the design, etc. but counterfeits of this period are of poor quality and are easily identified using the above diagnostics. I would be very surprised if there was a contemporary counterfeit of a 40 Shahiv note that was of such excellent quality that the decision came down to those type of details. 

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Back:

The back is identical to the 50 Shahiv, there is no back design variety that I've seen for this note, all are of the large Tryzub/small text design. So far. 

The boarder is the first thing to look at on the back as counterfeits are often lacking in this department and it is a quick identifier. The boarder should be clean, the line/s making up the boarder should be a consistent thickness, the vertical and horizontal lines parallel to one another, the corners should form right angles, it should be well aligned and parallel with the perforations/edge of the note, and any general sloppiness or varying of the boarder is a red flag. Centering on authentic notes is typically not great and as such should not be used as an identifier. 

The Tryzub should have a level of detail to it, if split in half the left and right should mirror each other perfectly, or very close to it.  Again, any general sloppiness or lack of detail here is a warning sign. 

The text should be level as if written on lined writing paper, the font should be consistent with no variation in sizing, the spacing between letters should not vary along with the vertical spacing between words. Counterfeits often have poorly spaced and sized text, on occasion the text will be illegible and/or at a slant

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Soooo... Which of the notes from my collection, posted at the beginning of the Journal entry, are counterfeits?

The SCWPM does not list a counterfeit for this note currently, not that I know of at any rate, and if added I would expect it to be Pick # 10x. I don't believe that different counterfeits receive different Pick #'s but this note and the 50 Shahiv were absolutely counterfeited multiple times by different people/groups.  A list of the different types of contemporary counterfeits for these notes could be an interesting project for me or signature set here. hm

If anyone is looking to dip their toe into Ukrainian banknote collecting, I can't recommend starting with these notes enough. They are fun, interesting, there is more to be discovered about them, don't take up a lot of room, and they are dirt cheap!

 

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So I remembered your previous post about these and how they did the grid kind of haphazardly on the fakes and so my initial guess not reading was that 4, and 6 were real the rest were counterfeit. After reading I believe that 4 is fake as well based on the font on the back and that 6 is the only real one. I really like these posts!

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On 6/8/2022 at 12:02 AM, VE Coins said:

So I remembered your previous post about these and how they did the grid kind of haphazardly on the fakes and so my initial guess not reading was that 4, and 6 were real the rest were counterfeit. After reading I believe that 4 is fake as well based on the font on the back and that 6 is the only real one. I really like these posts!

I can absolutely see why you believe that only # 6 is authentic, there is definitely variation in the fonts of the other notes when compared to # 6, but I believe that these are caused, in part, by the amount of ink applied (or not) during printing and some natural variation in the engravings/poor quality control. Taking the overall look of the note into consideration, my opinion is that 2, 4, & 6 are authentic. The Tryzub on the back of # 2 is pretty lousy and the font on # 4 is not great, that is a long stemmed "b", but when taking the entire note into consideration I believe them to be genuine and that what you are seeing is more along the lines of a variety/varieties. Excellent eye @VE Coins, well done! :golfclap: This was a tricky one, heck, I could be wrong and you could be correct. 

I will tell you that while all of the notes posted here are raw, I have seen the # 2 "variety" in a PMG holder. I'll probably have another Journal entry on that later and of the acceptable variances in these notes, at least what I consider acceptable, and whether or not these would be considered varieties. I think not. I'd be very interested to here your opinion on the subject, as well as anyone else who wants to join in. (thumbsu

Edited by Fenntucky Mike
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Interesting - I had discounted Option 2 due to the X and I thought 6 was genuine due to the b rather than option 4. Although I thought the flowers between and above the horns in the bottom right corner were better in Option 4 xD

Counterfeits vs varieties - the ultimate question!

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On 6/8/2022 at 3:07 PM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

Counterfeits vs varieties - the ultimate question!

Or varieties vs errors. hm Or acceptable variation/tolerance vs errors vs varieties vs counterfeits in a steel cage match, Thunderdome even. lol

On 6/8/2022 at 3:07 PM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

Interesting - I had discounted Option 2 due to the X and I thought 6 was genuine due to the b rather than option 4. Although I thought the flowers between and above the horns in the bottom right corner were better in Option 4 xD

# 2 is is lightly inked, much lighter when compared to the others, and I believe this resulted in some detail loss, especially on the front and possibly on the back making the X seem smaller or "weaker" to use coin terminology. It could also be variation in the engravings but when considering the note as a whole it just has the overall quality in the engraving and inking that I would expect, even though it may not be on par with other notes. Excellent point about the flowers around the horns on notes 4 and 6, again my opinion is that what you are seeing is an inking variation between the notes, #6 seems to have less ink applied than #4 (#4 is the most heavily inked of the three that I believe are authentic) making the detail in the flowers look "weaker" or sloppy. In the same context over inking could obscure some details, especially in the anticounterfeiting grid. A few of those small squares could get filled with ink, or the lines get thicker distorting the grid. The same would go for the detail in the flowers.  I suppose the inking variations that I think we're all seeing could be do to how the paper contacted the plate or how much force was applied as well. 

Great observations and points everyone! An excellent discussion so far! ^^

Edited by Fenntucky Mike
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