Here's some helpful information that you can make use of in your historical novels. Counterfeiting it happened back then just as it does today.
COUNTERFEIT MONEY.—Seven Rules For Detecting.
First—Examine the form and features of all human figures on the notes. If the forms are graceful and features distinct, examine the drapery—see if the folds lie natural; and the hair of the head should be observed, and see if the fine strands can be seen.
Second.—Examine the lettering, the title of the bank, or the round handwriting on the face of the note. On all genuine bills, the work is done with great skill and perfect- ness, and there has never been a counterfeit but was defect^ ive in the lettering.
Third.—The imprint, or engraver's name. By observing the great perfection of the different company names- in the evenness and shape of the fine letters, counterfeiters never get the imprint perfect. This rule alone, if strictly observed, will detect every counterfeit note in existence.
Fourth.—The shading in the back-ground of the vignette, or over or around the letters forming the name of the bank, on a good bill is even and perfect, on a counterfeit is irregular and imperfect.
Fifth.—Examine well the figures on the other parts of the note, containing the denomination, also the letters. Exturine well the die work around the figures which stand for the denomination, to see if it is of the same character as chat which forms the ornamental work surrounding it.
Sixth.—Never take a bill that is deficient in any of the above points, and if your impression is bad when you first see it, you had better be careful how you become convinced to change your mind—whether your opinion is not altered as you become confused in looking into the texture of the workmanship of the bill.
Seventh.—Examine the name of the State, name of the bank, and name of the town where it is located. If it has been altered from a broken bank, the defects can plainly be seen, as the alteration will show that it has been stamped on.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes ©1866