Euro 'misprints'

Lately I've been seeing a lot of so called 'Euro misprints' and 'Euro printing errors' on eBay. These banknotes have wrong cuts showing a portion of another banknote. You also see banknotes where the picture seems to have shifted to the side. High prices are being asked and paid for these notes. Great for collectors right?

Well no, because they're all fake.

The truth is there are hardly any real misprints of the Euro currently on the market. Let alone such obvious ones. Before a note is issued it has to face check after check after check, both mechanically and by a human inspector. A note which has half of two notes on it would never pass such a test. So what are these so called misprints? Are they fake banknotes? Yes. Sort of.

In reality these are 'misprints' which have been manufactured by the sellers themselves by cutting a large sheet of banknotes. In Germany you can buy Euro sheets of 5, 10 and 20 Euros as sort of a curiosity. Most people don't even know this but in the USA it's much more common to buy and sell or give so called 'uncut sheets' of dollars. In Europe this is only possible in the money museum at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt. The original sheets can be ordered here. The only downside: you have to collect them in person in Frankfurt.

The sheets of 5 euro are sold in sheets of 60 notes at a price of € 480. The sheets with notes of 10 euro are sold with 54 notes in one sheet at a price of € 860. The 20 euro is sold in a sheet of 45 notes at a price of € 1440. I presume the 20 euro sheet is a bit too expensive for the creative cutters because I haven't seen them appear on eBay yet. The three varieties look like this:

2012-04/geldbogen5er.jpg

2012-04/10eurogeldbogen.jpg

2012-04/20eurogeldbogen.jpg

By making the cut right through a note instead of between two notes, you're able to make your own 'misprint'. Which can of course be a lot of fun but not when you try to scam other collectors by selling them for high prices as a real misprint. Luckily for us they are easily recognizable.

The 5 euros in such a sheet always have a serial number starting with X0659. The 10 euro notes always have a serial number starting with X1017. If you come accross a 'misprint' and you see one of these serial numbers, you know it's a fake. The Bundesbank only sells complete sheets so even the varieties with 2 or 4 notes in a sheet have been cut from a bigger sheet.

Below are some creative ways in which these scam artists try to make money at the expense of unknowing collectors. All these examples have been copied from advertisements on eBay:

Two attached notes. What a stupid mistake by the printer!

And here's the serial number starting with X0659.

In this one they've kept too much paper on the left side of the note so all of a sudden the silver band on the right has disappeared.

This one is funny: the seller claims that his note is 9 mm wider! But he forgets the serial number on the backside.

This artist has found a whole series of mistakes on his very expensive note. But for our convenience he has magnified the serial number.

The most used method of creating a misprint: cutting two halves into one note.

The backside of the same 'note' with the well known serial number X1017 which exposes the artist.

My advice: don't buy these items because they're not worth the price which is being asked for them.

Steven Wednesday 11 April 2012 at 2:44 pm | | articles | Seven comments
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