A new generation of “supernotes” may have appeared on the
international counterfeit market. That is the conclusion in a number
of stories from media outlets as far flung as South
Korea, England, and even Nigeria.
It started in November at a branch of KEB Hana Bank in Seoul, when
an American $100 Federal Reserve note was flagged as suspect by a
counterfeit detection device. Officials at the bank looked at it more
closely after which they sent a scan to their main office, where there
is a well-equipped counterfeit detection center. The center asked to
see the actual note, and concluded upon detailed examination, that it
was a new generation of supernote. The South Korean intelligence
service and unnamed authorities in the United States confirm the
finding, says Korea’s Chosun Media.
When we discuss the rare coin market in the
U.S., we are merely scratching the surface.
The larger market for rare coins in the United States is made up of
dozens of individual segments.
All previous supernotes, established to have emanated from North
Korea, were of either Series 2001 or 2003. This one was of Series 2006
with the signatures of U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral and
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson. It differs from its predecessors
in material and printing method.
The note’s source has not been identified as North Korea, but Lee
Ho-jung of KEB Hana Bank said on Chosun.com, “It seems that whoever
printed these supernotes has the facilities and high level of
technology matching that of a government. They are made with special
ink that changes color depending on the angle, patterned paper, and
intaglio printing that gives texture to the surface of a note.”
The notes were not yet reported to Interpol, and no determination
has been made as to how many may be in circulation.
The Hankyoreh newspaper was told by a bank official, “To print
supernote-level forgeries, you need a minting corporation-level
production line in place, which costs hundreds of billions of won.
This makes it difficult for ordinary criminal organizations to produce them.”
The United States Secret Service declined to answer a series of
questions posed by Coin World about the notes, except to
confirm that “As a matter of practice, the Secret Service does not
provide comment about ongoing investigations.”
Connect with Coin World:
up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on
us on Twitter
The Congressional Research Service reported in 2009 that at least
$45 million worth of North Korean supernotes had been detected in
circulation, earning the regime between $15 and $25 million a year.