Topic: Error Asterisk? Looks Fake to Me  (Read 3166 times)
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« on: May 23, 2005, 04:29:58 pm »

Hi All,

I recently saw a scan of a 1954 $1 banknote that was alleged to be an error asterisk note.  The prefix was S/M and there was what appeared at first glance to be an asterisk in front of one of the serial numbers, but not the other.  The "error" part comes from the allegation that this note is a *S/M note that is missing one of its asterisks.

Right off the bat, one should clue in to the fact that there has never before been an *S/M note seen by the numismatic community.  At least not one that has been proven to be authentic.  One would expect that if this is to be another of those "single-sheet" replacement notes, then the number would end in 000, 500, 499 or 999, which it does not.  (The actual last 3 digits are 091)

See the attached image.
The bottom part is an authentic *A/A 1954M $1 note.
The centre part is the alleged *S/M 1954M $1 note.
The top part is a Series 2004 U.S.A. $20 E-* note.

Upon closer inspection, the asterisk appears quite different than all the other asterisks used on 1954 notes.  The colour is different: The alleged asterisk is more pink than the authentic red.  The orientation of the asterisk is wrong.  All 1954 asterisks were oriented such that they had a vertical set of points, as seen in the *A/A note I included for reference.  (Note: those keen CPMS members among the audience might dispute this, but the mention of asterisk orientation on p116 of the Dec 2004 CPMS Newsletter applies only to 1969-1975 notes.)  Further, if you look closely, there appears to be a "hole" or blank area at the very centre of the alleged asterisk.  In the authentic asterisk, the centre is very much filled in.  As well, the authentic asterisk has "balls" or circular dots at the ends of its 6 points.  The alleged asterisk appears to have sharp points.

One might say that this alleged asterisk is more like a 6-pointed star from the U.S.A. star notes than it is like a Canadian 1954 asterisk.  (Compare top two images in attached graphic).

I have emailed the current owner of this note pointing out these discrepancies and the reply was as follows:
I have had several Canadian bank note specialists look at this note.  Their opinion has been that the asterisk was out of position and the print wheel had very little pressure against the paper.  This results in a lighter asterisk without full printing, particularly at the centre, and is logical to be on a regular issue note. They all felt the note was genuine, and I have had two offers from Canadian dealers above $500.  I think the note is worth significantly more, and I will let the market decide.

I'm not satisfied with that response and I am sticking firm to my original opinions that this may be a "manufactured" error.  However, I make no attempt to identify WHO did this.  I only go so far as to allege WHAT I think it is.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

NOTE: If you reply to this thread and you know anything about the current owner of the note, or where you may have seen this note or a note that may be similar, please DO NOT divulge that information.  This discussion is about the discrepancies regarding the asterisk, and not about the owner.  Any posts outside the scope of this discussion will be ruthlessly removed.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2005, 05:04:02 pm by BWJM »

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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2005, 05:19:52 pm »

The horizontal axis of the asterisk and the paleness of the impression look to me like a rubber stamp impression.   I agree with your suspicion -  this is a manufactured "error".

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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2005, 05:20:08 pm »

I think it's fake too - looks like the asterisk was put on with a typewriter ;D.

Someone would be a fool to buy this note without seeing it "in person" and looking at the entire serial number with a magnifying glass...I'll bet the lettering of the serial number would appear glossy under a bright light, while the "asterisk" would appear dull.

You would also have to examine the back of the note to see if the serial numbers have uniformly bled through to the back of the note (as sometimes happens).  If the asterisk was typed on, the pressure would probably indent the paper and create a "bump" on the back of the note.

I think this seller should have taken the $500 he was offered! ::)

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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2005, 05:26:13 pm »

An obvious forgery.  
One wonders who the "experts" were who gave their solemn verdicts (with a straight face??), and the knowledgeable dealers who offered so generously.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2005, 05:28:19 pm by Bob »

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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2005, 07:27:21 pm »

I second Bob's opinion!   >:(

  Smile from your heart.  ;D
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2005, 08:50:59 pm »

The seller of this note told me in an email, in part:
"there have been quite a few knowledgeable collectors doubting the authenticity of this note.  Enough to make us think twice.  So we're canceling the auction until we can get further verification of authenticity."
Good call!

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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2005, 09:06:08 pm »

Hi Folks!

Just joined the forum a few days ago,this is my first post.

I must tell you,I was about to bid that note,had my heart set on aquiring it.This forum has saved me what could have been a costly mistake.

As soon as I figure out how to post a scan,I'll ask all of you an opinion of an error? I bought on ebay sometime ago.

Thanks to all for an informative forum for us newbies.
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2005, 10:19:18 pm »

At least the seller was honourable and made good on her promise to cancel her auction.  I'm impressed because at one point when I checked, the price was up to nearly $300 USD!!

After viewing a higher resolution close-up of the note's serial number, I concur with eyevet that the asterisk was added with a rubber stamp rather than being typed on.

Thank goodness this was a crude and obvious fake...I've always wondered if anyone had ever succeeded in forging an asterisk note.  If one could find a matching red asterisk in a rub-on transfer kit, then presto - an ordinary 1954 $5 Devil's face would suddenly be worth $12,000! ;)


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