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Counterfeit $1 Estado de Sonora notes

(This section, and the following sections on the counterfeits of the different denominations (including most of the illustrations), are the result of research by Robert Perigoe. This information originally appeared in the September 2012, December 2012 and March 2013 issues of the Journal of the U. S. Mexican Numismatic Association.)

All the counterfeit $1 notes that Perigoe has identified are in Series 3. Only 20,000 genuine bills were produced, so one dead give-away is a serial number exceeding 20,000. It happens often enough that it is a good first step, but usually further inspection is necessary.

Overriding Characteristics of the Counterfeits

There are three distinct types of counterfeits, but they all share certain characteristics.

The sweep of the printed Randall signature extends beyond the outer frame-line on all three printing positions of the genuine notes, but does not on the counterfeits. (It will be recalled that Randall had a propensity to extend his signature well beyond the frame-lines, often reaching beyond the margins of the higher value notes he was hand-signing.)

1countsig1   1countsig2   1countsig3   1countsig4

The numbering device used on the counterfeits is easily distinguished from any of those used on genuine notes because the dot below the ‘o’ in ‘No’ is circular rather than rectangular, and the serif on the top of the ‘N’ in ‘No’ is wider on the counterfeit.

1countno1   1countno2   1countno3   1countno4


The shading under the lettering at the top of the note is fine on the genuine notes but coarse on the counterfeit notes.

1countshade1   1countshade2
Genuine shading   Fake shading


The one contemporary document, the circular of 20 October 1914, lists the following indications for $1 notes.

accent of ‘a’ of ‘Pagará’ is slanted (sesgado) to the left accent slanted to the right
1count1iblue of numbering and seal tends towards black (tira a negro) 1count1jblue is very light
Est Sonora 1 comma‘El Gobernador’ followed by a comma Est Sonora 1 period'El Gobernador’ followed by a full stop
  typeface of letters and numbers coarser
1countshade1lines in the shaded area of ‘El Estado de Sonora’ are very thin, separate and the impression is entirely legible 1countshade2lines are very thick, with some joined to form dark smudges
print totally uniform and clear print very imperfect and smudged


Since the accent on the 'a' on genuine notes is an acute, it is difficult to divine what the first characteristic refers to. All the others are compatible with Perigoe's findings.