The Greysheet published an item from Heritage Auctions about an offering of a 1922 Bank of Portugal 500 Escudos note.
One of the most famous counterfeiters did not make fake bills in the expected manner, but rather used a sophisticated scheme to have an unauthorized run of genuine notes to be printed by the central bank! Alves Reis was born to a poor family in Portugal in 1898. He did not let his modest circumstances stop him and cooked up a scheme that became known as the Portuguese Banknote Crisis.
Reis orchestrated a fraud involving 1922 Bank of Portugal 500 Escudos notes. This high denomination, large format banknote is infamous today, as it was the byproduct of a forged work order by the smooth criminal. He cleverly crafted fraudulent paperwork and forged an order for the Bank of Portugal from printer Waterlow & Sons. 200,000 notes were delivered to Lisbon in 1925, one year after this design entered circulation. That was the equivalent of 100 million escudos face value, or nearly 1% of Portugal's GDP at the time--a huge coup for a criminal!
After receiving his ill-gotten delivery of paper money, Reis went on to use these notes to purchase gold-backed foreign currencies and make change for smaller, less suspicious denominations. He went on a spending spree that ended when he was eventually caught and the fraud was identified.
To read the complete article, see:
Rare Scam Note From the Portuguese Banknote Crisis Is a Collector's Item Today
This is NOT one of the fraudulently printed Alves Reis notes, however.
These are identified by the serial number and are slabbed by PMG as Pick #130x and designated "Reis Spurious Issue".
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
REIS SPURIOUS 1922 PORTUGAL 500 ESCUDOS NOTES
Wayne Homren, Editor
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