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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 40, October 3, 2010, Article 21

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS NAZI OPERATION BERNHARD COUNTERFEIT BANKNOTE

An article in the U.K.'s Telegraph described Operation Bernhard, the WWII Nazi scheme to counterfeit British paper money. -Editor

Operation Bernhard 20 pound banknote An incredibly rare fake 20 pounds note printed by the Nazis in a scheme to ruin the British economy by flooding the country with fake cash has emerged.

"Operation Bernhard" was launched before the war and the plan was to print money - just like Gordon Brown's quantitative easing method that was designed to save our economy.

The Germans forced Jews in a concentration camp to forge 134 million worth of notes and they had 100 agents ready to put the money into circulation in the UK.

This note - which in the 1940s would have had the buying power of 600 today - has emerged from a private a collector and is now being sold.

It is blank on one side and the other has Britannia at the top and is dated October 1937 and "promises to pay the bearer."

British intelligence got wind of the scheme in 1939 and countered the counterfeiting so successfully that the Bank of England recorded just one as having been paid out.

The Nazis began printing the backdated five, 10, 20 and 50 pound notes in 1942 and created nine million of them valuing 134 million pounds.

Some continued in circulation after the war and resulted in the Bank of England withdrawing all notes with a value of more than five pounds.

And it was not until the 1970s that notes with the denomination of 20 started appearing again.

Ironically for the Germans, the possession of this money became a major factor in identifying Nazi agents and led to many successful arrests.

The note is expected to fetch 400 when it goes under the hammer at Mullock's auction house in Ludlow, Shropshire, on Thursday.

I'm not sure how accurate the article is. The Bernhard notes aren't so rare that they can't be found in the collector marketplace - I own several myself. Is this one a scarce variety? Anyway, it's always interesting to see how numismatic items are portayed in the popular press.

To read the complete article, see: Nazi fake banknote 'part of plan to ruin British economy' (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/
8029844/Nazi-fake-banknote-part-of-plan-to-ruin-British-economy.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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