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Bank of England (2)     $15.00
Bank of England (2)
Click to enlarge

Bank of England forgery of five pound note.  One of the most intriguing tales to emerge from World War II was the Nazi plan to counterfeit British pound notes.  The original plan called for these well-executed fiorgeris to be dropped on the British Isles and neutral nations by the millions so that the British economy would be destroyed.  However,, the plan was changed because the Nazi Secret Service felt that the banknotes could be better used to acquire hard currency for the purchase of war materils and to pay for spying, sabatoge and espionage around the world.  These banknotes were painstakingly produced by a team of captive expert engravers and printers, which the Germas had assembled at the Sachsenhausen Concentration camp bear Berlin.

The banknotes were so well produced that there were many successful employments of the notes during the war.  Among thenm were Mussolini's rescue in 1943 from the mountain-top retreat where he had been imprisoned by his enemies and the payment of the famous spy "Cicero", who tipped the Germans off as to the decision on D-Day (which they didn't take seriously).

As the war came to a close, the Germans ordered their inmate counterfeiters to destroy all traces of their operation.  Many of the notes were destroyed and some were dumped into a small lake in Austria called Toplitzee where they were recovered weighted down in the middle of this incredibly deep lake (336 meters).  Many of the notes were then confiscated by the Bank of Vienna and burned before witnesses of the British Government.  Some found their waty into a reputed "haul" of the American underworld, but these have apparently disappeared after the British changed the design of their pound notes and were probably destroyed.  The amount of these notes that survived is unknown, but they are one of the few major counterfeits to have survived and document one of the more bizarre schemes of financial history.

This note was printed for Operation Bernhard by prisoners at the Sacheshausen Concentration Camp.




 


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