Archive for July, 2008

Government Laws About Copying Dollars

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill lawIt is legal to make a simple photocopy of a dollar bill, right? Not necessarily. There are strict laws concerning the reproduction of United States paper currency. Dollars can be illustrated or copied only under certain circumstances and only in certain ways. Here are the guidelines for reproducing dollars.

It is legal to create color illustrations of dollars, but certain restrictions apply. The illustration of the dollar cannot be the same size as an actual dollar. It should be less than three-quarters or over 1 ½ times the actual size, even if it is a portion of the bill.

Illustrations must only be printed on one side. Any negatives, plates, optical files, or digital images used to base the illustration on must be deleted or destroyed when the illustration is complete.

The same rules apply for photographs and printed copies of dollars, and other foreign currency, checks, securities, bonds, and stamps.

Reproduced bills can be used for motion pictures and videos. Movies, television shows and commercial advertisements can use them. They need to be reproduced in black and white. Anything used to create them must be destroyed after the production of the needed mock bills is complete.

For projection purposes, like movies, slides, and microfilm, actual money can be used. No prints can be made based on these materials unless they are black and white, and meet the above mentioned size requirements.

Make sure that you follow the law if you plan to make copies of actual money. Failure to abide by the law in this regard could result in a fine, a prison sentence, or both. Be careful about printing scanned color copies of dollar bills. Counterfeiting is a serious offense, and it would be terrible if you were charged for it just because of an innocent copy.

It is interesting how particular the guidelines are about these things, isn’t it? I just thought I would share that with you.

Defacing Currency

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill 100Many people wonder if it is legal to write on dollar bills or stamp them. There aren’t any laws that say writing or stamping on dollar bills is illegal. It is true, however that defacing United States Currency is a punishable offense. The Secret Service is actually responsible for any matters concerning the defacement of dollar bills. The United States Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Printing and Engraving website describes the regulation as follows:

“Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

“Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service. Their mailing address is:

United States Secret Service
950 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20223.

The United States Secret Service web address is”

So, basically, if you can still read and spend the money, no harm is done.
But DO NOT stamp or write on the dollar bills since we do not approve such a way to follow your US currency.

Also, don’t mutilate the bill or “krazy-glue” it to another bill. Keep the law in mind, and if you have the urge to disfigure or perforate your money, think about whether or not it is worth spending six months in jail.

Counterfeit Laws In The United States

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill counterfeitCounterfeiting money is a serious offense in the United States. Not only the individuals who produce the counterfeit bills can be punished according to the law, but those who are somehow involved in any part of creating it or circulating it.

According to the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), being involved in counterfeiting is considered a Class B Felony. The law is very detailed about what should not be done with regards to counterfeiting and forgery. Most people know that if someone is caught producing counterfeit bills is in big trouble, but there is a penalty for other incriminating evidence as well. Here is a basic list of things that you should not do, otherwise you can be fined or imprisoned.

You can be prosecuted if you:

  • Are in possession or control of plates, stones, or analog, digital or electronic images or tools used for the purpose of printing any financial obligation or security (bills, coins, money orders, etc …)
  • Make any plate, stone, or analog, digital or electronic image used for counterfeiting
  • Print, scan, record counterfeit money
  • Have possession or control of counterfeit money
  • Sell plates, stones, or analog, digital or electronic images or tools used for the purpose of counterfeiting
  • Sell counterfeit money
  • Possession, forgery of anything similar to materials used to create government securities or financial obligations

The law goes on to explain that individuals are not to change the designs or the printing process in any way unless authorized to do so. You are also not permitted to take any portion of the tools and materials that are used in the printing process, and certainly cannot create any replicas of these things, in whole or in part.

The sentencing for a Class B felony differs from state to state, but counterfeiting probably calls for at least some jail time, maybe 10 years or so, and a hefty fine of thousands of dollars. The best idea is to use real money, and don’t try to create any yourself!

Rare Bills You May Never Touch

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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dollar bill thousandHave you ever seen a $5,000 bill up close? If you are like most people, probably not. Back in 1969, the circulation of the 1945 series of bills in denominations over $100 was stopped. These bills were printed as Federal Reserve notes only between 1918 and 1945. Even though you may never get to touch one of these rare bills, it is interesting to hear about them. Take a look at these facts on the larger denomination paper currency that is no longer in circulation.

These are the faces printed on these bills:

$500 William McKinley
$1,000 Grover Cleveland
$5,000 James Madison
$10,000 Salmon P. Chase
$100,000 Woodrow Wilson

There are different images printed on the backs of these old bills as well. On the $500 large sized, blue seal Federal Reserve note, there was an image of DeSoto Discovering the Mississippi in 1541. On the back of the blue seal 1918 series $1,000 bill, there is an image of an eagle. On the green seal $5,000 bill, there is an image of Washington Resigning his Commission. There is an image of The Embarkation of the Pilgrims on the green seal $10,000 bill (series 1918).

The series 1934 $100,000 bill simply said, “The United States of America -100,000- One Hundred Thousand Dollars” on the back. This was a gold certificate that was never released for general circulation. It is not legal for collectors to possess this bill. It was also the only one of these bills that was printed red on the back.

These bill denominations were discontinued simply because they were not used very often. These bills are no longer available from the government. Those few that still remain in existence are in the hands of those individuals who collect rare currency.

You can see images of these bills on the Bureau of Printing and Engraving Website:

What To Do When You Receive A Counterfeit Bill ?

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

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making counterfeit dollar billThe United States Treasury Department has outlined very specific guidelines for dealing with suspected counterfeit money. On their government website, there is a list of things that they suggest you do for your own security.

First of all, if you suspect a counterfeit, report it to your local police or the U.S. Secret Service. If you are away from home, you should report the suspected counterfeit note to the closest police department located in the same town, or a neighboring one. This should also be done if you are in another country.

Here are some of the guidelines on the website:

  • You should not give the bill back to the person who gave it to you.
  • Try to delay the person, if possible.
  • Avoid putting your fingerprints on the bill. Put it in an envelope or a plastic bag.
  • Give the bill to an identified police officer, or mail it to the U.S. Secret Service Agent that is closest to you. Do not give it to anyone else.

There are several ways to spot a counterfeit bill on the website as well. There should be a watermark that is visible when looking at either side of the bill when it is held up to the light. There is also a security thread that is embedded in each bill. This thread is also visible when the bill is held up to the light.

If you have an ultraviolet light available, each bill will glow a certain color under that light (unless it is a $1 bill). If there is no glow, then it could be a counterfeit.

There are further details on dealing with suspected counterfeit bills on the United States Department of Treasury website, Visit their website for more information on counterfeit bills.