The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 2, January 14, 2024, Article 25


Here's the second and final part of John Regitko's story of his adventure curating a paper money exhibit for the annual Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Previously published in Canadian Coin News, it is republished here with permission. -Editor


  Photo for CNE Counterfeit display Part 1

In Part One, I revealed the true story of my brush with the RCMP, Metro Toronto Police and the Ontario Attorney General's Department involving my display of how the 1954 Series of $1 Canadian banknotes were printed.

Following is the conclusion.

A few weeks after the two Metro Toronto Police officers visited me at the coin show at the Westbury Hotel, I received a call from one of the detectives. He wanted to borrow my display to show to some new recruits to the fraud squad dealing with counterfeiting, because it explains well how paper money is printed. I thought what a turnabout of events.

I hand-delivered it the following day.

Two months later I called him back and asked him what happened to my display. He said they had used it for training new recruits. I asked if I could now have it back since I was going to a paper money show at the Chateau de Ramsey Museum in Montreal and would like to take it with me. He told me to come and get it.

I picked it up the next day before he changed his mind.

I asked him if I ran into some difficulties in Montreal, could I refer them to him. He said: No problem!

When I got to Montreal, I checked into a hotel across the street from the Museum. I didn't know anything about the hotel, but I saw all these girls lined up at the bar looking at me like they were expecting me...or someone. When I checked in at the desk, I expected to be asked if I wanted the room by the day or by the hour.

After settling into my room, I picked up the phone that didn't have a dialer on it and heard a voice say: Front desk. I asked him to connect me to the number I gave him. After an obviously longer than normal pause, he said one moment please and connected me.

The telephone number of the Montreal police is one of those numbers that I'm sure everyone in Montreal recognizes (280-0800). I explained to the duty officer at police headquarters what I was doing in Montreal and suggested that if they should receive a complaint about my educational exhibit at the prestigious Chateau de Ramsey Museum they could call the various people in Toronto rather than wasting someone's time by having them come to arrest me.

When I went back down past the lobby to go to a nearby restaurant, all the girls in the bar turned away from the door like I was a plague...or a policeman.

I set up the display at the Chateau de Ramsey Museum the following morning. Bill McDonald set up a fantastic display of some of his rare Canadian Banknotes. Jack Veffer laid out his rare Dutch currency collection. Wilf Sandall, Walter Allan and Myer Price brought along some of their greatest rarities. Then there was my display of funny money that I printed myself.

  Photo for CNE Counterfeiting display Part 2

Nothing happened with my display, probably because the CPMS gathering was a private affair.

A few months later, I received another call from the Toronto police and they again borrowed the display.

Two months later I called them to ask where my display was, was told the officer I had been dealing with was no longer there, but the display was in a cabinet. I could pick it up anytime, which I did.

So why did I get away with it when I knew that I might be treading on dangerous ground?

Because of how I put the display together.

I had pointed out to the RCMP officer, police and attorney that daily newspapers and catalogues routinely print paper money and they are never charged (I did not point out that it was in black and white, while my display was in colour.)

But the main reason I got away with it was due to the fact that I did not print multi-coloured notes per se.

I printed the whole face of the note in black, green and red on separate sheets and then painstakingly cut out the various colours and glued the cutouts together so that it appeared to be printed in colour on the same sheet. It was difficult to see the overlay of the green background, black signature and red serial numbers, even when viewing it from just a couple of feet away.

So why did I go through all that trouble? As I already said, I wanted a display that was really different. Maybe I didn't have anything better to do. Maybe I needed to get more excitement into my life.

Would I do it all over again? I don't know if I have mellowed over the years or have become more aggressive, but given all the same circumstances, I'm sure I would do it again.

Because, I must confess, I had fun doing it.

What do I have to show for it? The exhibit did not place in the top three at the Westbury Hotel. I lost all points for rarity because, I was told by one of the judges, I printed my own notes.

But I got the opportunity to tell you about it.

I never did find out the name of the Toronto Star reporter. I was sure I was going to read in Monday's Toronto Star a bold headline reading, like the heading of this column suggests, ILLEGAL COUNTERFEIT DISPLAY AT SHOW LEADS TO ARREST.

I still have the display...except that it is perfectly legal now. And, surprisingly, the UHU glue is still holding the overlays together.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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