A method for comparing quality of bank notes in circulation based on both a subjective visual sorting technique and on quantitative wear evaluations is described and applied to circulated Canadian bank notes. The sample notes, which were part of a $5 circulation trial, issued over a 4 to 6 week period, had been in circulation for roughly 6 months. Notes were first sorted visually into four defined substrate categories (No Edge Wear, Corner Folds, Minimal Edge Wear and Edge Wear) and four surface wear categories (None, Low, Medium and High). Samples of each category were tested at Crane and Co. using a range of physical and optical techniques: air resistance, air
permeability, stiffness deflection, double folds, gray scale, brightness, perimeter length, and top/bottom mean and maximum deviations. The visual sort showed that neither soiling nor ink loss are the major wear problems for bank notes in Canada. However, the substrate does become tattered and worn. The mechanical and optical wear tests show that most of the parameters change logically as the soil level increases. The changes for other parameters are less clear as a function of wear categories, but are relatively consistent in distinguishing between the No Edge Wear and Edge Wear. Impact of wear on the effectiveness of security features will also be described.
Both Canada and the United States have undertaken recent studies of public knowledge and human perception related to bank notes and counterfeits. These two types of studies yield complementary results that confirm or refute accepted beliefs regarding security features and bank notes, and provide guidance in their design. However, to be useful, the results of these studies need to be evaluated and applied in the context of note design, such evaluation and incorporation of results can be used to improve how bank notes are designed for different users, such as members of the general public, cash handlers, bank tellers and law enforcement personnel. Analysis of the counterfeits used in the perception studies and comparative evaluation of results can lead to better understanding of types of counterfeiters and help identify gaps in note designs to address those types. In this paper, the results from two recent studies conducted by the Bank of Canada on public awareness of currency design features and on human perception of genuine and counterfeit notes are used to illustrate the method of analysis and application of results to bank note design. Interpretations for specific features are highlighted.
One of the goals of the 1996 series design was to integrate highly recognizable features that enable the general public to more easily distinguish counterfeit from genuine notes, thereby reducing the chance of counterfeit notes being passed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how knowledgeable the public is concerning the new currency, to identify the channels through which the public learns about new currency design, and to assess the usefulness of the new currency's authentication features. Also, the study will serve as a baseline measurement for future design studies and in comparative analysis with other countries. The results of the qualitative research will be described in the following sections of this paper. The quantitative research is scheduled to begin in February 2002, at the same time as the Netherlands' opinion poll of the Euro and NLG-notes in an effort to compare results.
The US government recognizes the growing problem of counterfeiting currency using digital imaging technology, as desktop systems become more sophisticated, less expensive and more prevalent. As the rate of counterfeiting with this type of equipment has grown, the need for specific prevention methods has become apparent to the banknote authorities. As a result, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve have begun to address issues related specifically to this type of counterfeiting. The technical representatives of these agencies are taking a comprehensive approach to minimize counterfeiting using digital technology. This approach includes identification of current technology solutions for banknote recognition, data stream intervention and output marking, outreach to the hardware and software industries and enhancement of public education efforts. Other aspects include strong support and cooperation with existing international efforts to prevent counterfeiting, review and amendment of existing anti- counterfeiting legislation and investigation of currency design techniques to make faithful reproduction more difficult. Implementation of these steps and others are to lead to establishment of a formal, permanent policy to address and prevent the use of emerging technologies to counterfeit currency.
The first new design of U.S. currency in almost 70 years was introduced in March 1996 with the Series 1996 $100 note. The new design, which will be carried through to lower denominations, incorporates new overt features for use by the public. With introduction of the new $50 note in late 1997 and production of the $20 note in 1998, evaluation of the new features is in order. Since the $100 note has now been in circulation for well over a year, sufficient data is available to carry out a meaningful analysis. This report summarizes that analysis. For the analysis, two approaches are taken. The first is to characterize and quantify the gamut of counterfeits that have been generated, from copiers and printers to traditional lithographic versions. Overall quality as well as effectiveness of individual features will be rated. Results from the new design will be compared with those from the older designs. The other involves analysis of macroscopic counterfeiting trends as a function of year and series, to probe the impact of changes in the currency, both subtle and obvious. Understanding these trends can aid in the development of effective strategies to minimize counterfeiting over the long run.
Features for use in the first new design of United States currency in more than 60 years were selected from a field of over 130 possibilities. To narrow the field, individual features were subjected to a variety of evaluation methods, ranging from subjective to rigorous physical to limited production testing. Comprehensive evaluations were carried out by an independent committee of experts through a Treasury contract with the National Research Council (NRC) as well as by the interagency New Currency Design (NCD) Task Force of technical experts from currency production, issuing, processing and enforcement authorities. Features were also rated for effectiveness, durability, feasibility, intelligibility, security, production and processing impact and compatibility with design requirements. Through successive levels of evaluation, the original field was narrowed to 35 for scale-up testing to a handful for production testing. Full production testing and implementation schedule determined the final mix of features included in the new design Series 1996 $100 note.
The first new design of United States currency in over 60 years will soon be issued. Its issuance will be the culmination of a 6-year effort to make U.S. currency more secure against widely available advanced reprographic technology. The cooperative effort was directed by the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee, with executive representatives from the Federal Reserve System (FRS), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and Treasury Department. A task force of technical experts from each agency carried out the necessary evaluations. The overall strategy to determine the new design and new features applied a comprehensive, synergistic approach to target each type of currency user and each type of counterfeiting. To maximize objectivity yet expedite final selection, deterrent and detection technologies were evaluated through several parallel channels. These efforts included an open request for feature samples through the Commerce Business Daily, in-house testing of each feature, independent evaluation by the National Research Council, in-house design development and survey of world currencies. Recommendations were submitted by the Steering Committee to the Treasury Secretary for concept approval, announced in July 1994. Beginning in 1996, new designs will be issued by denomination approximately one per year, starting with the $100 bill. Future new design efforts will include input from the recently founded Securities Technology Institute (STI) at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Input will include evaluation of existing features, development of new techniques and adversarial analysis.