The (Il)Legality of Scanning Currency

Reproductions of money: Federal laws don’t ban reproducing images of United States currency, but they do restrict how you can legally display those reproductions. According to the Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992, Public Law 102-550, Section 411 of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, you can make and display color reproductions of bills … Continue reading


Supernotes are a certain kind of counterfeit US hundred-dollar bill. They are virtually indistinguishable from a legitimate C-note, which is not at all a good thing. Most batches are not even discovered to be counterfeit until they make it to a Federal Reserve Bank, which has the most advanced screening technology. As with other new species … Continue reading

“The Perfectionist:” Counterfeiting $100 Bills

Wolman, David. “The Perfectionist.” WIRED. June 2012. Artist and printmaker Hans-Jürgen Kuhl, counterfeiter. Sells $250,000 in counterfeit money for 21,600 euros (later, $6.5 million for 533,000 euros). – “forgeries…generally sell at a steep discount because so much of the risk is borne by the buyer. As a consequence, forgery is profitable only on a large scale.” … Continue reading

GAO Report 1998: Who takes care of currency?

From the 1998 GAO report (“Meaningful Competition Unlikely Under Current Conditions”), a nice breakdown of the different institutions involved in the production and security of United States Banknotes. Bureau of Engraving and Printing BEP, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, buys currency paper from the private sector and prints the nation’s currency at … Continue reading

United States Secret Service

The Secret Service was founded by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to suppress counterfeiting – a huge problem in America at that time, something like a third of currency was reported to be counterfeit. It became a distinct organization within the Treasury Department in 1883, and began “informal part-time protection of President Cleveland” in 1894. The … Continue reading