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L.A. Beat

Galt Museum presents Fakes and Forgeries— from yesterday to today

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It is always a good  idea to be a wary consumer, but it is even more so with the Christmas shopping season in full swing.  Because everything you can buy can be counterfeited including the currency itself. So it is a perfect time for the Galt Museum to  open their latest exhibit— Fakes and Forgeries: Yesterday and Today. The traveling exhibit comes to the Galt  from the Royal Ontario Museum with the help of a  special Heritage Canada grant. Volunteers and Bank Of Canada analyst Marc Trudel examine the counterfeit bill displat. Photo by Richard Amery
“Every 10-12 years, we release a new series of bills with different security features. This helps us keep one step ahead of the counterfeiters,” said Trudel, giving a preview of his  sneak preview of his presentation. He said next year, bills will be made of a special plastic polymer, though he doesn’t know which ones will be redesigned or what the new features will be.

“They’ll probably tell us what they are about two hours before it happens, because they don’t want any leaks,” he laughed adding there are a variety of security features on  the current issue of bills which include a special cotton fibres, which give them a distinct feel. So in addition to feeling the bills, you should be able to tell a counterfeit bill as well as by holding it up to light.

You should be able to see an image of the Queen or prime minister featured on the bill in the white space on the bottom right hand side of it. As well, raised ink is used on the holographic strip on the left hand side of the bill plus the numbers. And while  the Braille is not a security feature, it also helps set apart genuine bills from their counterfeit counterparts.

 The interactive exhibit  features 11 showcases full of  numerous different types of forgeries  from currency to ancient artifacts, as well as originals set side by side. They include counterfeit merchandise, drugs, hockey helmets and uniforms, counterfeit software and popular items like toys and ipods as well as ancient artifacts and their counterfeited counterparts from Egypt and China.

“The collection puts them side by side and  gives you a chance to  guess which is which. But they don’t just leave you guessing, you  can open a door and see if you are right or wrong,” said curator Wendy Aitkens.

The exhibit officially opens  tomorrow (Saturday) Dec. 17, at 11:30 p.m. with  Cst.  Blaine Stodolka speaking about how to spot counterfeit merchandise, followed by a presentation by  Bank of Canada analyst Marc Trudel speaking about how to spot counterfeit currency, who will be speaking at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m..
 There will be film screenings as well, ‘Catch Me If You Can’ at 1 p.m. as well as ‘The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes’ Greatest Case’  at 3 p.m.

Throughout the day there will be children activities. And because  it is  the opening day, admission is free.

For more information on this exhibit, please read upcoming issues of the Lethbridge Sun Times.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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