HomePaper MoneyCounterfeit Banknotes - The Story of Czeslaw Bojarski

Counterfeit Banknotes – The Story of Czeslaw Bojarski

Counterfeit Banknotes - The Story of Czeslaw Bojarski

Counterfeit Banknotes by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) ……

One of the most successful makers of counterfeit banknotes of the 20th century was Czeslaw Bojarski and he preferred to work alone.

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We have many prefabricated images in our heads of counterfeit banknotes operations; massive mafia printing operations in some dingy cellar in the city, massive rogue government operations, or even an evil corporation. These images, generated mainly by Hollywood, make for some great entertainment but are usually far from the truth in depicting successful counterfeiting operations.

One of the most successful and famous counterfeiters of the 20th century was Czeslaw Bojarski. Not in association with any organized crime, Bojarski successfully printed hundreds of millions in French counterfeit banknotes for over 14 years in the 1950s-60s.

The reason for his success? Yes, his notes were impeccable, but the fact that he ran the operation from the basement of his home, alone, in the suburbs of Paris was the key to his success.

For fear of detection, he made everything on his own: the paper, the plates, the printing presses, and the ink. Bojarski, being incredibly gifted, created counterfeit banknotes that were of higher quality than those produced by the Banque de France.

Bojarski’s most famous counterfeit banknote was the 100 Nouveaux Francs Bonaparte.

Bojarski’s most famous counterfeit banknote was the 100 Nouveaux Francs Bonaparte.

Bojarski handcrafted this note like the finest French cheese and wine, nearly impossible to differentiate from the legitimate bank issue. The only difference between the two was probably intentional on Bojarski’s behalf; a slight alteration of a flower petal in the upper corner. That’s it. Almost impossible to see with the naked eye, and unless one was searching for it, this difference was totally invisible.

No counterfeit banknote operation to date has been able to produce the same quality counterfeits that Bojarski had. He acted alone, that’s why he was able to avoid being detected.

I do not doubt that the French police and the Banque de France were disappointed when they opened up his basement and found a rather low-key and low-budget operation. I’m sure that they were expecting to uncover a high-powered crime ring.

His downfall? Czeslaw decided that he needed two more people to sell counterfeit banknotes as he produced them, as he could not do both at once. Shortly after he enlisted their services, they turned him in to the authorities. He was arrested and sentenced to 20 years and served 13.

Upon his arrest, Bojarski was plastered all over the French media, and, strangely enough, the French people took special pride in him as an artist.

Today, Bojarski is still viewed as the ultimate resource for counterfeit banknotes special investigators around the world. His counterfeits are worth considerably more to collectors than the bank-issued notes and they make a beautiful conversation piece in any collection.

Image courtesy of delcampe.net

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PMG is one of the world’s largest third-party paper money grading services, with more than 10,000,000 notes certified. The company backs all notes they certify with the PMG guarantee of grade and authenticity. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) have both named PMG their official paper money grading service.

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  1. Thanks for such a fascinating story! I was aware of Bojarski’s efforts but not in detail.

    To explain the word CONTREFAÇON that appears on the specimen 100 NF note, it’s French for “counterfeit”, obviously added to indicate its provenance.


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