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I have a counterfeit U.S. five-dollar bill I must have gotten in change in the dark a few years ago. If you've never seen fake money before, this will be instructive.

This bit of paper is lovely in its way, but it's clearly not real; thus, it's sad, or art. The five pictures at bottom show on which points this bill is unconvincing:

First, the ink is too light and quite too green. Second, the paper is too light in colour, and tinged turquoise. Third, the paper shows too much dot gain. Fourth, and compounding the problem of the third point, neither bill side image appears to be print-quality. Fifth, the ink appears to be flaking from wear (see the word 'FIVE' over the Treasury seal on the obverse). Sixth, the paper is too smooth, not fibrous enough. It sounds 'crinkly' (not evident in photographs). Seventh, cutting-lines are visible on the reverse, at the top right and bottom left corners. Eighth, there are no watermarks (apart from a stain under the Federal Reserve System seal on the obverse) nor, I assume, is there a security thread. Ninth, the bill is slightly too small. And tenth (and this is the big one, I think), one can, frankly, see through the thing. Sorry, counterfeiters. You're useless, criminal shits.

Yet here it is, the bill, in my possession. It circulated. I take it back, boys. You're not shits, and I'll never spend your bill, because it amazes me. (And because I've published the serial number, DC54618296A, here.)

I must admit, I like the idea of counterfeiting fives. It seems such a natural, easy, forgiveable thing to do, almost not really a federal crime. And that's all I aspire to: to do forgiveable things.

Obverse.
Reverse.
With genuine five-dollar bill.
With Series 1928 two-dollar bill.
With playing card (for scale).

 
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