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Bureau of Engraving and Printing
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Pictured below: Badly damaged U.S. currency notes.
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Damaged Currency

Watch and learn how BEP examiners piece together mutilated currency in this segment produced by NBC's Today Show. 

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NBC's Today Show
September 25, 2008

Read Transcript

What Do We Mean By Mutilated Currency?

 

Mutilated currency is currency which has been damaged to the extent that:

 
  • Its condition is such that its value is questionable and the currency must be forwarded to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for examination by trained experts before any redemption is made. One example of mutilated currency may be bills missing relevant security features.
 

Currency can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are: fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.

 

Free Public Service

 
The BEP redeems mutilated currency as a free public service.  Lawful holders of mutilated currency may receive a redemption at full value when: 
 
  • Clearly more than 50 percent of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, along with sufficient remnants of any relevant security feature and clearly more than one-half of the original note remains; or,

 

  • Fifty percent or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Treasury that the missing portions have been totally destroyed. 

 

Every year the Treasury Department handles approximately 30,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million. Your money is important. However, please know that heavy volume and the precise nature of the work may result in lengthy wait times. Please follow the submission instructions carefully to help us process your claim in the most efficient manner.

 
Examples of Mutilated Currency
Buried Currency
Water Damaged Currency
Burned Currency

What is Not Mutilated Currency?

 

Any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, worn, out currency note that is CLEARLY MORE than one-half of the original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value. These notes may be exchanged through your local bank.