The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 10, March 5, 2023, Article 30


The Geldscheine Online site has an article about a declassified 1948 CIA document discussing counterfeiting. Here's a Google-translated excerpt. -Editor

1948 CIA counterfeiting report True or not true – that is the question here. Secret papers from the US foreign intelligence service CIA bring a surprise to light:

A report released in August 2002 made outrageous claims. Here's how to read in seven points:

1. It has long been reported that the well-known printers Giesecke & Devrient in Leipzig were involved in the counterfeiting of foreign currency on behalf of the Soviets. This company is known to have printed counterfeit funds for German intelligence during the war.

2. The factory was dismantled by the Russians and the best and most modern machines were removed and sent to Russia for reparations. A good part of the former staff was also taken out of the country. A few months later, the Russians planned to resume counterfeiting work and part of the factory was eligible for this work. Several presses were brought back from Russia, but most of the special equipment was no longer found. The crates of machine parts came back, but it took a lot of effort to assemble enough equipment to do the engraving and imprinting of counterfeit money.

3. Currently the focus is on the reproduction of US Treasury $10 bills, US Military $10 bills and UK one pound notes.

4. The counterfeiting department now has eight employees, four of whom are German and four Russian. The Germans were closely guarded at work and outside. They bring the technical skills necessary for the job, while the Russians have the supervisory functions. Strict records are kept of all stocks of paper and other supplies, as well as of finished notes and all waste.

5. The production target for the four months beginning October 1948 was as follows: USA Treasury Notes 10 Dollars 100,000 USA Military Notes 10 Dollars 85,000 English Notes 1 Pound 10,000 On October 23, 1948 the following quantities were completed and delivered: USA Treasury Notes $10 10,000 US Military Bills $10 20,000 This was approximately twenty percent less than the scheduled delivery for the period and delivery was two days later than expected.

6. The paper for the counterfeiting is made by a small company in the Russian zone that works exclusively for Giesecke & Devrient. The inks are said to be American products. Only Russian employees take care of the containers, who give the paints to the German craftsmen in small containers as needed.

7. Various counterfeit papers are printed in other departments of the plant. These include ID cards, ID cards, bills of lading, vehicle registration documents and driver's licenses as used in the United States, England, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the three western zones of Germany. Dutch passports are now being produced and are said to have visa stamps for the Dutch colonies. The powers of attorney for the West Sector Police in Berlin have recently been issued.

However, if the CIA report is to be believed, only 10 percent of the Treasury Notes were printed and shipped...and then the 1890/1891 $10 bills were said to have been counterfeit. But those were the large-format bills, the so-called Large Size Notes; presumably small size notes were printed. And there, in turn, different issues would come into question: Gold Certificates, Silver Certificates, Federal Reserve Notes or National Bank Notes.

The large-format treasury notes would have been a great challenge for the Leipzig forgers in terms of printing technology and it is questionable whether the originals produced in steel engraving would have been close. Presumably, if at all, banknotes dated 1934 and with different signatures were forged. A US Army high command warning of counterfeit US currency bills involved 18 cases within 6 months as early as 1946, a military detective reported in the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes.

To read the complete article, see:
75 Jahre alte CIA-Dokumente sagen aus (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2023 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster