Counterfeiting is as old as money itself, and tales of the cunning criminals trying to outsmart the system have always enthralled us and that’s exactly what will happen as you read FAKING IT! A HISTORY OF COUNTERFEITING IN CANADA (178 pp., $24.95) by James Powell and Jill Moxley and released by General Store Publishing House, Renfrew.

This richly illustrated book introduces the reader to the history of the crime and some of the grisly punishments meted out in the past. It explores the “arms race” between the issuers of money and the counterfeiters, as well as cases of official counterfeiting in wartime. The focus then moves to Canada’s experience with bogus bills and coins from the seventeenth century to the present day.

While emphasizing that counterfeiting is not a victimless crime, the authors present fascinating case studies and profiles of the criminals and their adversaries. Today, the Bank of Canada and the RCMP are the front line in the fight to maintain confidence in Canada’s currency. The changing face of bank note security is examined, culminating with the new polymer notes, and major counterfeiting busts by the RCMP are highlighted.

FAKING IT! A HISTORY OF COUNTERFEITING IN CANADA wraps up with a look at the new frontier of counterfeiting crime: fraud involving credit and debit cards and electronic payment systems. Faking It! Read this enjoyable introduction to the world of bank note security and the constant struggle to protect the money in your pocket.


James Powell is a retired senior Canadian central banker and the author of two previous books that focused on Canadian financial history. The first, A History of the Canadian Dollar, was published by the Bank of Canada in 2005. The second, The Bank of Canada of James Elliott Coyne: Challenges, Confrontation and Change, was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2009. Jill Moxley is a retired editor and writer who has worked in the fields of biology, economics and finance.


FAKING IT! A HISTORY OF COUNTERFEITING IN CANADA (ISBN: 9781771230445) by James Powell and Jill Moxley, is published by General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario, and retails for $24.95.