The Story of the British Museum, £8.99
Width: 186.000 mm
Height: 90.000 mm
Coins and Medals
Forged £1 note of the Halifax Bank
Halifax, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England, AD 1819
A forged banknote: crime, punishment and consolation
In Great Britain in the early nineteenth century, the many different notes issued by local banks were a great temptation to forgers, and customers not familiar with a particular note could easily be taken in. The quality of printing and the engraving of the vignette on the left of this forged note of the Halifax Bank of Rawdon Briggs and Co. is dangerously good. However, the paper is much too thick.
In 1819 the Halifax Bank suffered a spate of forgeries. One local shopkeeper took in two forged £1 notes in payment for tea, sugar and soap. Perhaps with the help of an informant, two men - a father and son - were caught and executed. This punishment was seen as harsh, even then, but was deemed necessary in order to deter forgers. The prosecution of the pair had involved considerable expense, not least for the all alcohol consumed by the banker and the witnesses!
H.L. Roth, The genesis of banking in Hali (Halifax, F. King & Sons)
V.H. Hewitt and J.M. Keyworth, As good as gold: 300 years of (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)