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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 41, October 8, 2006, Article 15

VIETNAM INVESTIGATES POLYMER BANKNOTE QUALITY ISSUES

According to an October 5 article, "Technology, material, and
printing quality are the major attributes that government inspectors
are checking at the National Money Printing Factory.

The inspection began in mid-September and will last until the
end of November, revealed Dang Duc Lam, a manager of the factory."

"...polymer banknotes are more durable than cotton-paper banknotes,
which helps Vietnam save issuance costs.

However, just several months after the first polymer banknotes
appeared in the market, some problems emerged, for example difficulty
of counting by machine, the ink on the face of the banknotes being
lost when two banknotes rub each other, and particularly, all the new
VND50,000, VND100,000 and VND500,000 have been successfully
counterfeited using sophisticated methods. The newly issued
VND10,000 polymer banknote also incured a publishing error."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Howard Daniel writes: "There has been a recent rash of news items
in the Vietnamese press about their counterfeit and error polymer
notes.

The production errors are creating quite a stir because quality
control was supposed to be much higher for polymer notes than for
the old paper notes because the printing process is much more precise.

Numismatists have been collecting the polymer production errors, and
I have seen several of them, but we have not been reporting them to
the national bank branches.  When the national bank recently had an
error reported to it by a non-numismatist, they got quite excited
and started an investigation.

>From the articles about investigating production errors, it now appears
they are actually being printed in Viet Nam and that the polymer "paper"
is coming from Australia.  The printing facility is being reported using
various different words, but the official name in English is the National
Banknote Printing Plant (NBPP).   I had thought the notes were only being
numbered at the NBPP, but now, I am pretty sure they are printing them too.

A design error has also created a lot of noise in the press.  It is
on the new 10,000 Dong polymer note, which is missing a dot on the
upper right face side which should be "10.000" but has only "10000"
in a vertical line.  The poor designer and/or engraver who did it
might have been demoted, but it is likely he was fired.

The counterfeits coming out of the South China operation are getting
better and better.  I recently was sent two 100,000 Dong counterfeits
made with a plastic "paper" that is very close to polymer and can be
passed once or twice before it starts to look "funny."  The passers
only need to pass it once so it is working very well.

Of course, this has re-energized law enforcement in every branch of
the government.  Polymer was supposed to be MUCH more difficult to
counterfeit and this was one of the factors in Viet Nam converting
from paper to the higher cost polymer.  I doubt if there will be a
change out of polymer, but I do expect much stronger law enforcement
actions, and stronger diplomatic and INTERPOL actions to stop the
South China counterfeiting."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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