A brief (and fascinating) history of currency counterfeiting: Focusing on Australia and some other cases

Mostly Economics

Richard Finlay and Anny Francis of RBA in this research note give a fascinating account of currency counterfeiting. They focus on Australia but pull examples from other countries too. Perhaps one of the best things that have read in this year so far.

Counterfeiting has a rich and varied history going back to the very earliest forms of money. It has been pursued for personal gain – although at the significant risk of jail time, or, in the past, death – as well as for economic and political destabilisation by hostile countries. Both high- and low-value denominations are liable to be attacked. Currency issuers and counterfeiters are, and always have been, locked in a battle of innovation, with government authorities adapting and innovating in order to deter counterfeiting. Acceleration in the rate of technological development, however, seems to have shortened the timeframe over which each new security feature remains counterfeit-resistant…

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