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It has happened to me at least twice in Peru, that someone gave me a fake 5 soles coin. Most shop vendors were able to spot this instantly and refused to accept it.

How can I recognize a fake/false Peruvian coin?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I was initially sceptical that this was a common problem as I didn't encounter it the two times I went there. Then I did some research and you're definitely not alone.

There are a few blogs on this matter that have tried to give their thoughts on the subject.


For coins

  • The weight should be heavy. After handling Peruvian coins for a while you will be able to tell if a coin is lighter than it should be
  • The coin should be round and well-formed
  • The color should be a light and shiny silver and for 2 and 5 soles, light and shiny gold
  • The coin should be smooth without pock marks or rough parts
  • The engraving should be smooth and detailed

For notes

  • The color of the number (whether 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 soles) should change when you wave the bill back and forth. It will go from a light purple to a dark purple or blue
  • The paper should be thick and of quality stock. You can pull opposite sides of the bill to tell the thickness. After having Peruvian money for a while, you will be able to tell the proper quality
  • The portrait etching should be intricate, with no detail left out. The quality of the carving is key
  • There should be a shadow of the portrait when you hold it up to the light
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According to this video (in Spanish, may be the automatic subtitles could help) distributed by the peruvian governtment, these are the main steps to detect fake coins:

  1. Designs are clear and well defined
  2. Small coins has parallel lines (in fake coins these lines cross one to each other).
  3. Fine details are usually malformed in fake coins, review it carefully
  4. Borders are continous in real coins, fake ones sometimes has cuts on it
  5. Real coins are coplanar, it is, you can leave in the table without any movement on it if you press it
  6. In a stack of coins, these match perfectly if are real

You only speak about coins, but there is also a video available in order to help to detect fake notes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRsE8q4EZag

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