Old money causing some concern

Published 12:08 pm Friday, September 13, 2013

FRANKLIN—Mary Hay of Courtland fears she could be out $50 because of a questionable bank note she said she received Wednesday from BB&T Bank in Franklin.

Mary Hay of Courtland said she recently got this $50, dated 1950, from a local bank. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

Mary Hay of Courtland said she recently got this $50, dated 1950, from a local bank. — STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

The matter is complicated because the bill dates to 1950 and has reportedly failed one test for being legitimate. Yet, another source claims it’s genuine.

“I went to BB&T around the corner from here, The Tidewater News, and cashed my paycheck,” Hay told the newspaper. She noticed having received an old-looking note among mostly new bills, but thought no more of it.

Hay said she used that particular currency to pay a garage mechanic, who soon informed her the bill was marked with a pen and discoloration showed it to be counterfeit. She said she then returned to the bank and spoke to a teller who reportedly did a different test, and this time the note was shown to be legitimate.

Hay next contacted the Secret Service, and she said she was told the bank should have taken the bill and sent it on for verification. Hay was also instructed to bring the money back to the bank, and she would be given a receipt. If the note is legal, Hay said she was told, that amount would be refunded. If it’s not, she’s afraid she’s out that cash.

“This $50 is very much needed,” said Hay.

Afterward, she said she took the note for review to Tom Myers at Liberty Coins in downtown Franklin.

“I couldn’t tell,” Tom Myers said. “I’m not that knowledgeable about counterfeit bills. “I’ve never come across any counterfeit money, and wouldn’t know it if I saw it.”

To the best of his recollection, he said, his brother Warren Myers, the store owner, also has little to no experience with counterfeit bills.

“I would think any $50 or $100 would be checked,” said Tom Myers. “The clerk gave it back.”

“It’s probably not counterfeit,” said William Holland, Franklin BB&T manager, adding that pens won’t necessarily work on money that old.

“We’d have to take a look,” he added. “We’d be glad to verify it there and exchange it.”

David R. White, vice president of corporate communications for BB&T, confirmed that the Secret Service handles counterfeit money issues.

The story of Hay’s situation with the 63-year-old note is a new experience to him, he said.

With no implication about her, White added a cautionary thought about people coming into banks saying the money they received there is counterfeit.

“This is true of all banks,” he said. “Once you leave with the money we don’t know what you did with it. We don’t know if it’s been switched.”

Further, he stressed the severity of the damage that counterfeit money can do to people.

“It’s a horrible, horrible crime,” White said. “It victimizes so many people.”