Andrii Boiko-Gagarin

PhD (history), head of the sector of the treasury funds work problems National museum of Ukrainian history.

ORCID: 0000-0003-4610-3665

Researcher ID: N-6985-2017

DOI: 10.17721/2522–4611.2020.42.3




Actuality. Counterfeiting of money throughout the history has been one of the main problems of the state since the appearance of the first coins. Adventurers, who wanted an easy money, resorted not only to making coins similar to state examples, but also running to other types of the fraud – sawing precious metal coins along the edge and band, trying to pass old coins for new ones, stealing tools from the mints etc. In the Middle Ages and Modern period, there were used a common methods of determining the authenticity of money – the testing needles, fineness testing stone, weighs, as well as the use of special brochures with the information about the precious metals content and exchange rates of the different coins. This article uses the general scientific methods, citing of the archival cases is done by transcription. The originality of the research is in the complex use of the different sources: the archival criminal cases, newspapers and previous researcher’s publications. The main results of research. The government sought to improve the protection of the coins and banknotes, developing and implementing the latest elements of the protection, complicating the coin images. Another effective tool in the fight against counterfeiters was the in-time warning the population about the appearance of counterfeit money in the region and about the methods of determining them. Technologies for making coins and paper banknotes have also become more complex and have acquired new elements of protection, which were intended to stop counterfeiters and reduce the quality of the fraud coins making them easier to detect. Ordinary people in Ukraine during staying in Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires also had certain skills to verify the authenticity of money. Traditionally, ordinary citizens have been checking coins for the metal fineness by biting their teeth. To determine the conformity of coins to the established weight, traders often used special scales with whole sets of weights, which were also common in the imperial era.

Consultations at fairs were also popular among the population. Suspicious money founded among the population after the police departments inspection were more often attracted with the help of treasurers, who dealt with cash on a daily basis and could distinguish counterfeits, as well as with jewelers to help determine the metal alloy. Skills for self-detection of counterfeit banknotes were also relevant in the end. of XIX century. Victims of the counterfeit money sometimes used their illiteracy to justify and demonstrate their inability to distinguish fake credit bills from genuine ones, emphasizing this during interrogations.

Also, advanced technologies have been developed not only in the field of manufacturing and improving the degree of protection of coins and banknotes, but also the invention of devices that would facilitate the self-detection of counterfeits by both professionals and ordinary citizens. To prevent counterfeiting, the public often tried to pay with uncirculated banknotes, which have a better view of the degree of protection, which also raises less suspicion in the subsequent calculation.

Key words: money circulation, counterfeiting, imperial period, money authenticity, circulation coins, credit bills, archival sources.

Received by the editorial board: 15.07.2020


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