18 September 2009

Chop marks on hundred dollar bills

Chop marks are familiar to collectors of Chinese stamps as a cancellation/validation device. They are now appearing on high-denomination currency, and apparently around the world rather than just in China.

I don't quite understand how it validates the authenticity of the bill. If I were a counterfeiter with the ability to produce reasonable hundred-dollar bills, the addition of a counterfeit chop mark would be a piece of cake.

But they are interesting. I've just checked all my hundred-dollar bills and haven't seen any. :.)

More pix at this numismatic site, via Reddit.


  1. My guess is that certain "chop marks" correspond with appropriate serial numbers on the currency.

    Example serial numbers: http://www.aanotes.com/collecting/banknotes/anatadol.htm

  2. Hmm not as fun as microscopic images found on motherboards when the creators get a tad bored in their spare time.

  3. Checking your hundred dollar bills? I didnt realize blogging was so profitable. Just kidding of course, but these chop marks might possibly be silkscreen prints done by a playful artist.

  4. If you find one Stan I'll be generous and take it off your hands for $90.

  5. Here's one I got about 2 months ago.


  6. Here's how they work:

    Say I'm a money changer. I look at the bill. I know what security features to look for. Once I've decided that the bill is good, I grab my little stamp and stamp the bill. That way, if I see it again, I'll know that I already scrutinized the bill, and save some time. Another changer might recognize my stamp, and save some time too.

    It is not so much an anti-counterfeiting measure. It is more a time saving measure.

  7. jag, you're missing my point. I understand how it is supposed to work to save the money-changer time.

    My point is that if I'm a countefeiter, I print some phony $100 bills, then make a copy of someone's chop mark, and put the chop on my fake bills, and the money changers will assume they are real.

    If I can counterfeit a bill, I can counterfeit a chop with one hand tied behind my back.

  8. Agreed, a chop mark would certainly be easier to counterfeit than a $100 bill. I don't even know if it would be necessary to actually counterfeit a chop mark. A crafty counterfeiter could just make up a few chop marks of their own, and sprinkle them here and there on their fake bills in different colors. If they're lucky, a lazy cashier might see all the breadcrumbs on the bill and just accept it.

    Have you seen the new $100? It was unveiled today. That motion strip is going to give the counterfeiters fits.

  9. Are these chop marked us notes accepted in shops etc... that's my biggest worry? I've got plenty of notes which all ALL have arabic stamps on the back. Certainly not going to keep them for their "collection value" I simply want/need to use them.

  10. Reply to Anonymous.
    In America, chopmarked bills are not a big problem, but you may need to exchange them in a bank as shops are generally reluctant to accept $100 bills.
    Outside of America, chopmark may cause rejection in some countries, results vary.


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