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Any tampering was counterfeiting

Did our early laws make a distinction between counterfeit coins and altered coins?


The attitude of early lawmakers seemed to be that any spurious pieces of whatever ilk were bad. Accordingly, the law as laid down in Massachusetts in 1786 described the coloring or gilding of coins (to make silver coins look like gold or copper coins resemble either silver or gold) by whatever means as subjecting the maker to the full limit of the law as a counterfeiter and forger.

I have a Chinese bank note that has the wording in the Chinese and English languages. Is this note for real, or is it some sort of spoof?

Your note is genuine, or at least the design is genuine, English wording and all. It’s quite common to find words and phrases in English on Chinese paper money and coins. This is perhaps a throwback to the period when the British were a power in the Far East.

What’s the misspelling that can be found on the back of a $5 note?

Not just any note. This is an engraving error on the 1886 $5 Silver Certificate. The note has group of silver dollars on the back. On the second dollar from the right, TRUST is misspelled TRAST. This note is the first to carry the IN GOD WE TRUST motto, as it is visible on the reverses of the silver dollars.

Why was the Indian Head 1877 cent used on the experimental small-size 13-cent stamp in 1978?

It was specifically noted that the reason was unknown. Possibly it was because of the work on the Bicentennial and the 100th anniversary of the coin when the stamp was worked on in 1977.

How long did it take after the birth of Christ before that date was used for dating coins?

The term Anno Domini took a while. It would be more than 900 years before even the Church began using the term regularly, so it was not until the 10th century that the concept of A.D. and B.C. dating really took hold.

I notice that the name of the person pictured always appears on our notes. Doesn’t everyone know George Washington?

Washington, yes, but there are several unfamiliar faces on our notes that would defy identification by the average person. Since our notes are used in a number of countries around the world, there is a question of ready identification. Anyway, it’s the law. The statutes provide that the name must appear with the picture. The official ruling is contained in the U.S. Code, Title 31, Section 414. With Andrew Jackson scheduled to be taken off the $20 denomination, names on notes will help the next generation.

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