A rare set of fake banknotes by Hitler will be auctioned by Mullock's auctioneers at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire on August 18. The fake pound notes printed in "Operation Bernhard" intend to ruin British economy during world war 2. A set of four bank notes (£5, £10, £20 and £50 notes) recovered from Lake Toplitz in Austria will be auctioned next month and are expected to fetch £2,000 at the auction. The forgery by Hitler is the most perfect counterfeit banknote in history.
In 1942, Hitler produced £134million of counterfeit notes in "Operation Bernhard". Nazi spies had been ordered to smuggle the cash into Britain and flood the economy with the fake money. But Hitler's plan was foiled when British spies got wind of the idea and intercepted the shipment of the notes. The Bank of England first learned of a plot from a spy as early as 1939. It first came across the actual notes in 1943, and declared them "the most dangerous ever seen."
The initial plan was to destabilize the British economy by dropping the notes from aircraft, but Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe declared it did not have enough planes to deliver the forgeries, and the assets were put in the hands of SS foreign intelligence. Many were transferred from SS headquarters to a former hotel near Meran in South Tyrol, Northern Italy, from where they were laundered and used to pay for strategic imports and German secret agents operating in the Allied countries.
The Nazis forced Jewish prisoners, experts in engraving and printing, held at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp to produce the notes. By the time Sachsenhausen was evacuated in April 1945 the printing press had produced 8,965,080 banknotes with a total value of £134,610,810. At the war's end the mint notes still in Germany were dumped in Lake Toplitz together with the printing plates made to produce them after 'Operation Bernhard' was abandoned with just a handful of notes having made it into British circulation. The notes are considered among the most perfect counterfeits ever produced, being almost impossible to distinguish from the real currency.
In 1959, German magazine, Stern, finance a diving team to retrieved the forged sterling currency Operation Bernhard hidden in boxes, and a printing press. They were taken out of the lake by divers but have amazingly stayed in great condition.
Source: Daily Mail UK
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