Jump to content
CoinPeople.com
LostDutchman

A Study In Modern Chop Marks

Recommended Posts

Before I get started I want to ask a question. Have you ever had a $50 or $100 bill and wondered where it has been? Have you ever noticed little stamps or markings on the backs of these bills? These are chop marks. Chop marks were made famous by US trade dollars. They were used earlier on Spanish milled dollars that went overseas. They were used to mark a coin as yours because either a bank does not exist near you or because the banks that are near you don't take that particular currency or coin. If you mark a coin and someone steals it you are able to identify it. This tradition continues today in cities in the Middle East and Asia. I am going to start to document these marks as I find them on modern American currency. The US dollar is the most traded currency in the world. I will use this thread to post pictures of the stamps I find. If you find any please feel free to post an image.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These were all found on the back of $100 Bills

 

 

t0g64o.jpg

This note was in the middle east. Most likely Saudi Arabia.

 

t0g6cm.jpg

Notice the chop over an existing one.

 

t0g6eh.jpg

Asian chop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burks    0

Interesting. I wasn't aware bills also had "chop marks". I've seen them with stamps and such but nothing like those you posted.

 

Guess I need to start checking more carefully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gxseries    0

That's quite common actually overseas. From my experience of what I hae seen I swear I have seen at least 40% that are in such conditions. I learned my lesson that such notes should not be used in Russia, as they love to reject such notes, leaving me with not too much of an option. :ninja:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's quite common actually overseas. From my experience of what I hae seen I swear I have seen at least 40% that are in such conditions. I learned my lesson that such notes should not be used in Russia, as they love to reject such notes, leaving me with not too much of an option. :ninja:

 

Same in Ukraine, any marks sends off the signal that it maybe counterfeit.

 

And it is pretty common on $100 bills even in the USA, I would estimate approximately 70% of them that I have seen recently have some sort of mark, stamp, notation etc on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
see323    0

I am not too sure but I believe these are done by currency exchange dealer. They chopped them to certify that the note is genuine. I believe if ever they do come across the same note with their chop, they would not have to spend time verifying it again and they can safely use it or make available to their customers. Early days, silver coins such as US Trade dollars, British Trade dollars and Chinese Dragon Silver dollar have chops marks bearing pawnshops, businessman etc. I guessed they are applying the same concept. I hope I am right about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never heard that before...It could very well be true... When I was a kid my family and I went to egypt... I was about 8 at the time but I was already collecting. The vendors there selling goods and trinkets I remember watching my mother pay for something with a US $20 and the vendor then put a stamp or somthing on the reverse and put it with a wad of others and then into his pocket...I have been under the assumption that these marks were a form of chops used only by vendors...but I could see it being used at currency excanges

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
see323    0

With all these chopmarks, it would have deface the notes to a certain extend. I believe most countries currency issuing authority would not like this acts to happen. Imagine having a banknote with all the chops marks. But so far, I have not seen a banknote with so many chops that fill up the whole banknote.

 

Another interesting thing is that why is it only happening to US currency. So far, I have not seen any of my country's currency with all these chop markings. I guessed US currencies are widely used in most of the countries since there is a demand for them. And the local country currency exchange dealers also work double hard with their chopping skills. Maybe sooner, there will more elaborate design of these chop marks appearing on the currency notes to have better differentiation among the chops marks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gxseries    0

Something that I had to add, but US 100 dollar bills in the past terribly lagged behind some major world currencies in terms of security. At times I get paranoid when people doubt the authencity of such money.

 

Just recently, my mom found a 1974 old and tattered 100 dollar bill that she got a long time ago. I don't even know if that is genuine or not, nor what to do with it. :ninja:

 

Perhaps it is time to switch over to polymer? :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have noticed that it only usually sppears on $50's and $100's. You would think that the $20 being the most circulated US bill more of them would have these...that might lead me to lean more towards an exchange as well...but they would mark those too....I thought I knew from my experience as a kid...but now I have more questions then I started with.

 

 

see maybe you could call a few exchnges in singapore since you are there and ask if they do such a practice??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
see323    0

When I started venturing into collecting world solid number almost 2 years ago, I had this misconception about which US currencies are most widely used and circulated. As I do not stay in US, I do not really know much about the usage of the various currency notes. I thought it's the $100 bill which is most widely circulated. Later, I found out from a US dealer that a $20 is one of the mostly widely circulated denomination. On why I think that $100 bill are most widely circulated. The answer lies with the money changer. It was silly of me to think that $100 is widely circulated since the money changer mostly carries $100 bills for their trade. How silly of me.

 

At times, I do need to exchange some US currencies. Most of the times, I noticed that the Singapore money changers only carries large denomination of $100 bills. Yes, they do have chop marks on them but not all of them have chopmarks. As the money changer do not carries $20 or any other denominations, I do not know whether they are chops on them. But so far, I have not seen any $20 bill with chops. It is relatively true to say that these chop marks does come from overseas. I believe local US currency users do not put a chop marks on them. While these US notes return back to US in the ciruclation, they bear these chop marks. When they return, they are probably carried by tourists from overseas to USA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gxseries    0

Indeed, I can agree. I have changed to and from USD back in Singapore while I was there. I was very adamant about such notes after the bad experience in Russia. Fortunately, the money changers in Singapore are very trustworthy. :ninja:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
see323    0

Have you ever noticed that most of the Singapore money changer are mostly Indian. Traditionally, as far as I can recall, Indians usually operate the money changer trade. Yes, they are trustworthy. Reputation is important to their trade especially when dealing with money. The most famous place in Singapore where money changer is in abundance is at Arcade building at Raffles Place. You won't miss them when you are there. There is a keen competition among the various small shops. Everyone offering a competitive rate. That's good news for us. Money Changer are governed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Singapore is known to have very strict monetary laws. Our current Prime Minister used to be in the Monetary Authority of Singapore. I'm not sure whether he is still the chairman at this moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gxseries    0

I can see why others wouldn't dare to do such jobs - they must be very good with maths and not too many people would play around with small decimal figures on large sums.

 

If I am not mistaken, isn't the signature of Goh Chok Tong on the current 2 dollar polymer note? :ninja:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
see323    0

You are right about the new Portrait $2 Polymer note with signature of former PM Goh Chok Tong. Since Lee Hsien Loong have taken over as PM, it now bear the signature of Goh Chok Tong. You are well-informed. :ninja:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gxseries    0

Just one thing in case people are wondering about:

 

t0rb6x.jpg

 

That word that just means "Chinese" in traditional Chinese writing format.

 

This as well:

 

t0g6eh.jpg

 

Probably the simplified version of "fu", which means prosperity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ccg    0
Just one thing in case people are wondering about:

 

t0rb6x.jpg

 

That word that just means "Chinese" in traditional Chinese writing format.

 

This as well:

 

t0g6eh.jpg

 

Probably the simplified version of "fu", which means prosperity.

 

You sure about those? I don't think "Hua" translates as "Chinese"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mmarotta    0
  They were used to mark a coin as yours because either a bank does not exist near you or because the banks that are near you don't take that particular currency or coin. If you mark a coin and someone steals it you are able to identify it.

 

I am not sure about those theories. I am a doubter by nature and I often find evidence lacking or internal inconsistencies in stories like those. (Recently, I published an article about so-called "emergency coins" or "plated Owls" from ancient Athens. I dispute the claim in its entirety.) However, I find this to be more compelling from See323:

 

They chopped them to certify that the note is genuine. I believe if ever they do come across the same note with their chop, they would not have to spend time verifying it again and they can safely use it or make available to their customers. Early days, silver coins such as US Trade dollars, British Trade dollars and Chinese Dragon Silver dollar have chops marks bearing pawnshops, businessman etc. I guessed they are applying the same concept. I hope I am right about this.

 

However, again, there is some internal inconsistency. While it is true that finding your own chopmark does save you time, I think that this is as unlikely as having your own check come back to you with multiple endorsements.

 

By analogy, the first theory I demolished was Seltman's "merchant theory" for the origins of coinage from the Encyclopedia Britannica. (The ANA gave me a literary award for that, so I accept my assertions as having been reviewed.) Seltman said that the first coins were simply lumps of electrum given a merchant's stamp so that the merchant would not need to reweigh it. One problem is that no one has ever found any order or semblence in the stamps to show weights. More basic is the fact that the purpose of trade is exchange. You are unlikey to see your own chopmark once you pass the money in the next transaction. What happened was that I was writing an article and citing the merchant theory and then I told myself a joke: "If any merchant ever punched a lump of electrum, it was to avoid taking back a bad penny."

 

I think that these chopmarks appear on notes to show that they are genuine because of the prevalence of counterfeit US currency, apparently a huge problem that we Americans are unaware (kept unaware?) of.

 

Anyway, thanks to the Lost Dutchman for starting the thread and thanks also to See323 for helping it along. (I just added to the COINS forum ARTICLES area an essay I wrote a while back on SHROFFS. I wrote it a couple of years ago for the MSNS MichMatist. (It was rejected by the ANA Numismatist as too specialised.) I made a few updates for it to have been reprinted recently by the MINTMARK of the Numismatic Society of Auckland.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
whohah    0

IMHO, the multiple chopped notes have been thru many different money exchange shops. These shops may be quite distant from each other so the various shops may not recognize the chop of a different shop.

 

As I said, JMHO...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mmarotta    0
  IMHO, the multiple chopped notes have been thru many different money exchange shops. 

 

That seems to be the accepted theory. Someone should just go interview these people and write up the facts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×