The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 23, June 7, 2020, Article 36


Here are three recent stories of counterfeit bills. Two are business as usual and not typically worth discussing. But they set context for the third, which is devastating. -Editor

Chinese fake $100 bills

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they seized more than $351,000 in counterfeit $100 bills in Milwaukee.

According to a press release, the seizure was made May 27 at the Express Consignment Operation facility.

Agents said the fake bills were shipped from Shanghai, China, and headed to a residence in Milwaukee.

In all, the shipment contained 3,515 counterfeit $100 bills totaling $351,500.

Investigators said the fake money was made of poor material, missing required watermarks, had no red and blue embedded fibers, each bill had the same serial number and there were Chinese letters on the back.

Chinese fake $100 bill back

To read the complete article, see:
Milwaukee customs officials seize $351K in counterfeit $100 bills (

Those are very poor counterfeits that shouldn't have fooled anyone, but fakes of all quality levels keep showing up in commerce, creating trouble. Over in Minneapolis, it was reported that a $20 bill believed to be fake led to the arrest that killed George Floyd. Here's an excerpt from a June 3, 2020 USA Today story. -Editor

Counterfeit bills allegedly circulated in the neighborhood around Cup Foods before a reported $20 forgery led to George Floyd's death in police custody on Memorial Day.

"I've seen my share of counterfeit bills," said P.J. Hill, a resident of the neighborhood, community leader and member of the Worldwide Outreach for Christ Ministries across the intersection from Cup Foods, where the report of the fake bill was made to police.

Two nearby business owners said they did not have a problem with counterfeits or know they were an issue.

Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes at the convenience store last week. The clerk reported it to police, a step that management described as store policy in Facebook posts.

Four police officers arrived for what is now a notorious arrest, captured on video by bystanders. Police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, and Floyd was declared dead shortly thereafter.

"It went from a counterfeit bill to a man being killed to millions of people around the nation just hurting," Hill said. "Then to people being angry and responding in a militant way and destroying, burning cities. Then to a grieving and trying to protest.

"You just think about that, all from a counterfeit bill," Hill said.

To read the complete article, see:
What we know about George Floyd's death and alleged counterfeit money in Minneapolis (

That $20 bill may be in an evidence locker today, but whether it's actually fake or not is beside the point. Even when the words "To counterfeit 'tis death" were printed on bills I don't think that sentence was ever carried out. -Editor

Mark McCoy, a white man and an archaeologist and associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, was arrested in Massachusetts in 1994 for the same charge as Floyd - allegedly spending with a fake $20 bill.

McCoy, then a white 18-year-old, spent a night in jail, the charge was dropped after a six-month probationary period and he went on to be a successful university professor.

He recounted how when he left the restaurant, police officers picked him up.

He maintains he didn't know the bill he had used was fake and that anyone could accidentally use counterfeit money.

'This could happen to anyone.'

'George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill,' he tweeted.

'For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence.

To read the complete article, see:
Professor says his 'white privilege' meant his own arrest for trying to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill is 'a story I sometimes tell at parties' while for black man George Floyd it was a 'death sentence' (

This story will continue to play out for a long time. Meanwhile though, the store owner walked back their policy of calling police in these situations. -Editor

The Minneapolis corner market where a store clerk called police on George Floyd over an alleged fake $20 bill before his fatal arrest will no longer call police when they suspect counterfeit money, unless the situation turns violent, Cup Foods' owner Mahmoud Abumayyaleh told Inside Edition.

He also said the clerk working May 25 was inexperienced and called police on Floyd after the bill he used to buy a pack of cigarettes was flagged by a money-counting machine as potentially counterfeit.

But Abumayyaleh told Inside Edition that "most of the time when people present a counterfeit bill, they don't even know it's fake."

Ten days after Floyd's death, the store remains boarded up and the nation continues to mourn.

"People want answers, people want justice. George Floyd didn't deserve to die," Abumayyaleh said.

To read the complete article, see:
George Floyd Was a Regular at Store That Called 911 and May Not Have Known Bill Was Possibly Fake, Owner Says (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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