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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


UPDATE 8/09/16, 2330


This is the first of three posts that will deal with the use of micro codes within the context of the Somerton Man case.

It is very clear that the micro written content on these notes is an exercise in disguise and concealment. 

There is a significant difference between what has been found on the banknotes and Hebrew artwork. 

In the Hebrew Micrography examples, it is obvious that words are being used to portray animals, humans, and decorative borders etc.

In the banknote examples, as in the image from the One Shilling note below, it is very obvious that the letters and numbers are being disguised and concealed. 

There are more images to come. We have been in touch with 2 code and cipher experts and they will be examining what has been found with the aim of ascertaining whether these are practice letters and numbers or whether they are in fact a structured code.

My opinion is that the notes are being used as a platform to train others in the use of concealed writing and clandestine communications. In every instance thus far recovered, full use has been made of shaded areas as per the CIA manual reference that you can find on our resource pages. All have been hidden in plain sight. What this then does is to provide a direct link to the Somerton Man case where we uncovered the same kind of hidden code within the larger letters of the 'code page', in the so-called 'crossed out' line, the two centre lines and the lower 'flourish' at the base of the page. 

In this Banknote and others, they wasted no space at all, within the confines of the code page and it's markings, they wasted no space there either.

In much the same way that it appears in the signature in the image below. Similarly the same can be said of the Verse 70 note from Jestyn to Alf Boxall, for it to contains this form of concealed writing. Here's an example of just that from the green Two Shilling note:

There is a small collection of further examples of microcode on the banknotes at the base of this post.


Below we have a series of images from the Hay Banknotes range. Whilst putting watermarks has been around for moire than a century and a half, what we see here is something extremely different. For such a small denomination, it appears that a great deal of trouble has been gone to add special/clandestine markings, letters, and numbers at numerous locations on each denomination of these notes.

Whilst recognition has been made of micro writing on the notes in various auction catalogues and texts, what we are looking at here is something that, to my knowledge had not been picked up on for more than 70 years and goes far beyond the basics that have been discussed.

In discussions with Clive, it almost beggars belief that all this work would have been done for such a small run of low-value notes. Under close examination, you can see very fine almost wispy letters and numbers, to my eyes in many cases they may have been added in pencil after the printing process and may not have been part of the plates. We are fortunate in that we have some images of the original artwork for the plates which we will add to the site shortly.

All of the images of these notes are from 1200 dpi master images. 

At the base of this post, you can view examples of Hebrew Art from which most micro writing was derived.

At this point, if anyone has an interest in the Dunera Boys and their history, if you go to:,

You'll find a lot of good solid and reliable articles in PDF format. They are also looking for members and you can join quite inexpensively. It is a good organisation, it actively supports surviving Dunera Boys and is a terrific resource for all who have an interest in Australia's WW2 past. You would be surprised at the names of people who were once Dunera Boys and who went on to be famous in their chosen careers including Nuclear SCcientists, Aircraft Engineers, Artis, Poets and Authors.

The Banknotes

The image on the left is of a Hay Internment Camp 7 Sixpence Banknote. At this stage, it looks normal. But let's look a little closer.

Now let's look at what appears to be reverse
writingIt shows up as white just to the left and beneath the word legal

Same note with highlighted areas, if you look closely, you will see some very fine micro writing within the highlighted boxes.


Now let's look at another aspect of another note, this time, it's the Two Shilling note:

In particular, we are looking at the signature, if you look closely, you will see that within the highlighted boxes and within the actual handwritten letters, there are numbers. Allow your eyes time to focus on each letter, the numbers are extremely fine and I believe they may have been done in pencil after the print process. If you look at the arrow, you will see that amongst all of the micro letters, there is what appears to be a single letter V which stands out.

This is exactly what was done in Jestyn's Verse 70, the difference being that this to me is much finer work. It also clearly demonstrates how the Somerton Man code page was put together.

Below we are looking at some of the letters in the word SHILLING. In the left-hand box, you can fairly clear see a string of numbers, the centre box is somewhat less clear but if you focus you will see a bank of 8 sets of numbers, finally in the 3rd box there are 5 strings of numbers. All are very finely done.

Below is the last image for this post, it is GS at the end of the word SHILLINGS. You can clearly make out the letters CVZ 0r C4Z in the letter S as highlighted. The G has some micro writing but a little difficult to make out clearly.  If you have great eyesight, to the right of the S and very faint is a series of letters and numbers within the 'cloud'. I will be doing some work to bring that up so that it is clearer.

It seems to me that what he have here is not just marking of notes but perhaps a 'practice' sheet for code writing. There is a lot more to come in this series, the next post will be about the designer of these notes, Georg Tiltscher and a possible link we have made to a UK Military Intelligence group following George's move to the UK in August 1941.

UPDATE 8/09/16  2345

Coding in the shield, emu, merino, roo. A little hazy but you should be able to make out the numbers in the highlighted areas of the shield and animals.


For those with an interest in where this form of concealed writing came from, here are two examples of Hebrew Micrography, every single object in the image is handwritten in Hebrew. It should not be hard to see that a skilled person would have little difficulty in transcribing micro-words into the shapes, forms and even signatures found on the Hay Camp 7 Banknotes. The image is just 180 DPI, and as you can see there is a huge amount of detail that is quite visible. It will, in fact, expand to 4400 X 3800 pixels and still remains relatively clear. You can download it here:

The above is from the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection, it is an Omer Calendar by Dov Margolioth and dated 1830. This item was sold for $185000 USD.

pen and ink on paper.
height 23 in.; width 26 1/2 in.
58 cm; 67.5 cm

Micrography, the scribal practice of employing minuscule script to create abstract shapes or figurative designs, is an art form that has been used by Jews for over a millennium. This intricate decorative technique was first practiced in Egypt and the Land of Israel in the tenth century. In the centuries following the advent of printing, micrography continued to be used to decorate ketubbot (marriage contracts) and wall hangings.  This outstanding example of the micrographers’ art comprises the entire text of four books of the Hebrew Bible (Esther, Ruth, Song of Songs and Lamentations) as well as an Omer Calendar for enumerating the days between Passover and Shavuot.  In addition to a profusion of flora and fauna, four biblical characters are portrayed. At left are Queen Esther and her servant Hatakh, while at right are King Solomon and Bithia (Batya), the daughter of Pharaoh. A remarkably similar micrographic Omer Calendar, apparently by the same artist, features the same decorative motifs and illustrative style as the present lot and is in the collection of the Skirball Cultural Center Museum in Los Angeles (catalog # 39.37.) It is signed Dov Margolioth, son of Rabbi Asher Selig of Szczebrzeszyn, who completed the work in 1830 in Bonn, Germany.

Every single aspect of the piece below is a written word. It's entitled 'Shir Ha Shirim'

 This is a close up of the reverse of the two shilling note. If you can focus on the dark background that lies between the merinos. you will see micronumbers have been written in.

Another image of the reverse of the two shilling note. Again more micronumbers have been written in. The same applies to all of the background areas on the reverse side of this note.

One Shilling note, micro written as highlighted in the O and the N. There are actually more examples within this picture but they are faint.

A differnet angle for the N and we picked up 227 in the E

In this image to the right you can see where numbers have been added to the shading surrounding the I, N and G.

A somewhat clearer image of numbers added to shading as highlighted.

Once more, numbers added to shading in the H, I and L.

The H and the I picked up numbers again within the shading.

In the barbed wire support poles to the left of this image, you can see faint outlines of numbers.

The S shows markings and numbers can be seen in the neck of the Roo and again the barbed wire support poles.

Final image for this collection shows the O, N and E with micro numbers.


  1. We need a note, Gordon, and we need a good negotiator to buy one ... I know a company who can use the deduction if the price is low enough. The you can go nuts on it.

    1. I have spoken with a few dealers, prices have apparently come down over the last couple of years, having said that, this find may just bump them up a bit. You would need to take a close look at it before buying, there could be fakes around given their price. Wonder if one will turn up in NZ? A few Dunera Boys went that way to all accounts.

  2. The Jewish example is a sheet that is 2 feet wide. While the writing is still small at that size, it doesn't appear to be even close to the size it would have to be in the bank note - and it's at that smaller size that I start to get very skeptical....

    That said, on the note where you say there is a 'V' I thought at first it was '20' - but looking closer I almost convinced myself it was "2D". I thought this was significant, because for some reason I thought it was Lds not Lsd (Pounds (librae), Shillings (solardi), Pence (denarii)) - so "2S" would have been pretty cool.

    While I find this sort of direction of investigation interesting to some degree, for me if any microwriting exists (whether on the notes, the rubaiyat, SM's note, GF's book or anywhere else) it needs to be useful. This means that there must be some 1950's (in fact 40's) way to be able to get a legible result most of the time. While I understand pencil marks fade and the passage of time deteriorates all things, my greatest skepticism around the microwriting is that we haven't really found any useful examples (or perhaps my eyesight's really bad).
    In the context of bank notes, semi-random placements make sense (provided they're consistent across multiple notes) - because the person verifying the note know where to look. On SM's note I'd have to question how someone would have known where to even look for the writings - whose purpose I assume would be to convey a message to someone.

    I can't help but be deeply sketpical that results that we're getting with very modern aparatus could actually reflect results that were possible using some (presumably easily available) 1940's tech - like a magnifying glass.

    I'll admit, though, that I'm more than a little intrigued how this will all work out (and while I'm skeptical, I wouldn't say I dismiss the possibility there's something useful there) particularly if it does prove to tell us something.

  3. Thanks for the comment. Let me relieve you of some of your skepticism by asking a question.

    The comment you made that 'The Jewish example is a sheet that is 2 feet wide. (580mm X 630 mm)

    'While the writing is still small at that size, it doesn't appear to be even close to the size it would have to be in the bank note - and it's at that smaller size that I start to get very skeptical....'

    Exactly which letters did you measure on the Margolioth work? You see I measured the smallest on that image as being approximately .4 mm in height. That approximates to the size of the writing on the notes within the signature. Your comment would be more interesting if you didn't generalise. Be specific about measurements and the location of the letters you refer to and that would get the attention it would deserve. You could start with the feather in the man's hat.

    On SM's note the first place to look was within the letters of the code, the random jottings that were found were just that, random and not part of any code as such. So I think you may have misunderstood the point of that exercise. The larger letters of the code were, in my view, created as part of an INK H message.

    I suggest that you go back and examine the locations and dimensions in the Margolioth artwork then get back to me. We might get something 'useful' out of it :)

    1. My point about the message is not the technique used (although as I understand it, you're lifting microwriting from tracings of indentations left from a pencil. Firstly the original pencil markings would be considerably thinner than an ink one, and secondly I'm not sure how we explain the transfer across multiple mediums), but rather the point of the note. Hiding a message on a banknote I can understand. Hiding a message in the Rubaiyat, I can understand. Hell, hiding a message on a bus ticket (or an unused train ticket) I could understand. But generating a random series of letters just to hide a message seems (to me at least) to defeat the purpose of "in plain sight" - especially since presumably the people he would have had to be dealing with for all of this micro-writing to make sense would be expected to thoroughly scrutinise any strange paper that fell into their hands (I don't for a second believe someone in that industry would believe a "double blind" would fool anyone).

      Even if the code page itself is not so random (I think someone suggested radio codes or something?), it still seems the least likely place to hide a message, simply because even if SM had not died, that message appears inherently interesting (just look at the interest it has caused - much like the more recent Ricky McCormack scribbles) - and to hide something in plain sight you would surely want something so mundane it is overlooked - and in fact puttin it in a random note demands a lot more scrutiny even from the legitimate recipient of the note, because you can't predetermine where the text will be.

      And I still come back to one of my other points - the messages don't just need to be useful, they need to be readable with technology of the day. Unlike the artwork (or even the banknotes) where anyone looking is presumably looking to verify a known phrase/word/whatever the SM note (assuming of course it is for someone else, not reminders for himself) would presumably have been a message whose text is not known. The brain easily discerns what it wants to - so when you're expecting to see particular text you will see it, no matter the quality; but when you don't know what you're looking at it's a lot harder to make any sense of it. So as a "verification" or "anti-fraud" device on the notes, microwriting may be plausible (and I'll even concede as a training device for bored young men with nothing better to do it's plausible) - but the inability to get any sense out of any microwriting found suggests that these weren't used to pass secret messages around.

      I remain a skeptical armchair opinionist.


    2. Nice to hear from you again :)
      Let's work through this:

      1. You need to consider the action of creating an indentation. In the SM code page there are two indentations, one will be the pen with it's broader nib and the next will be the finely pointed pencil. It seems you have overlooked that an indentation by a thin pencil by default creates a slightly wider marking than the pencil point, it 'drags' the surrounding fibres just a little. This dragging action can be detected by oblique lighting which is what the people that examined the page would have done. So, now we have a slightly wider indentation in the back of the book.

      2.Next, I am assuming that you're aware that the pen markings that you see on the code page were done by the Police to cover whatever was on the book.

      3. I am so glad that you agree that the bank note and the Rubaiyat contain micro writing well at least you get part way there. On the comment related to 'fool anyone' It fooled everyone for nearly 70 years, a testament to its effectiveness don't you think? Or perhaps not to the unopened mind of an armchair sceptic.

      4. You have assumed once again. In this case you make the assumption that the letters were random. I don't believe so. You refer to 'radio codes', that was a post I put on this blog having found that a 1945 US radio operators manual contained 'pro signs' or short hand that could be matched to the letters of the code. Perhaps you should have browsed through the posts for that before making your comment?

      5. Plain sight it most definitely was and in some parts still is.

      6. Technology of the day? If by that you mean UV and infra red lighting, oblique lighting, oblique camera angles, iodine vapour, and bleaching of course then that is what has been used.

      7. Inability to get any sense out of any microwriting? Who says so? Oh, I see you're making up some rules to fit your position, which as I read it is that of sitting on your backside in a comfortable armchair being a carping critic who I do not believe has read through the posts nor done any research nor taken the trouble to test the methods already shown on this blog.

      If you are going to be of any value to this discussion then I suggest you get out of your comfort zone and your armchair and start doing something rather than going off on your path of complete generalities, spiced with emotional phrases.

      Conversation over, I respect the time of others please respect mine.

  4. Any updates about Tibor Kaldor and George?

    1. The answer is Yes and will be published hopefully by the weekend, a few items to be tidied up first. Please be patient with us and understand that we are dealing in some cases with significant time differences and distance and even in today's world, it can slow communications.

  5. Anonymous ... as far as we know the code page (the back cover of the Rubaiyat) was not the medium meant to be carrying the code, it just held the code's imprint, probably unknown by the writer at the time.