For All Nails #256: It's The Real Thing

by Mike Keating

(Thanks to Noel for some serious revision with this one.)

From The Statist
16 April 1976

Small Change

Christopher Collins of Norfolk bought a new National Union 20-inch colour vitavision set last month. He paid N.A. £18. The odd thing about the purchase was that Collins already owned a six-month old version of the exact same model in perfect working order. The especially odd thing about the purchase was that he sold the new set a week later for only N.A. £16.

One might ask why someone would be willing to lose money selling a never-used vita in excellent condition. In fact, CBI agents began to ask just such a question after hundreds of adverts proclaiming sales of just-purchased consumer items began appearing in the Norfolk Register. The answer to the question seems to be that Collins, in fact, made money on his deals. Literally. Agents arrested Collins two weeks ago on charges of counterfeiting Bank of North America notes. A workshop in his basement contained false plates, a printing press, paper, and ink. It also contained about N.A. £700 in fake notes.

Apparently Collins found five and ten pound notes to be the most lucrative. (The CBI believes that he feared that the higher-denomination notes would be subject to excessive scrutiny.) Collins turned fake cash into real money by purchasing and reselling simple household consumer items, according to authorities at the CBI's Norfolk office. The CBI claims Collins "made" over thirty thousand pounds in six months.

Collins steadfastly maintains his innocence. "I have an amateur hobby as an artist. I've never sold a piece, or even tried to sell anything. But I have a perfectly legitimate use for all that stuff down there." John Christie, Collins' attorney, claims the counterfeit money came from a donation by a wealthy benefactor looking to aid penurious art students in purchasing supplies. What kind of art Collins was studying has not yet been made clear.

The Bank of North America hopes to make the careers of future art students somewhat more difficult. Next week, the BONA will unveil new security features to be incorporated into future issues of CNA paper currency, starting next year. (The BONA ceased issuing fifty and hundred pound denominations at the end of 1975, although the notes remain in circulation.)

The changes are small. The new notes will feature thin vertical threads running 1-inch from the left margin, visible if the note is held up to the light. In addition, the portrait on each note will be bordered by a tiny text reading "CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA" three times, visible only under a magnifying glass. The overall design of the notes will not be altered and authentication pens will still colour them the same way. The colour of the bills will, of course, remain pale green. The authorities can only hope that the faces of future "artists" will take on the same colour when confronted with the new banknotes.

Forward to FAN #257: Crash of Civilizations.

Forward to 28 April 1976: Look for the Union Label.

Forward to the Statist: No Oil for Blood.

Return to For All Nails.

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