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Currency Collages

Artist Mark Wagner takes one dollar bills and cuts them with an Exacto knife, then reassembles them into works of art that sometimes have no resemblance at all to the original bill.
The one dollar bill is the most ubiquitous piece of paper in America. Collage asks the question: what might be done to make it something else? It is a ripe material: intaglio printed on sturdy linen stock, covered in decorative filigree, and steeped in symbolism and concept. Blade and glue transform it-reproducing the effects of tapestries, paints, engravings, mosaics, and computers-striving for something bizarre, beautiful, or unbelievable... the foreign in the familiar.

Link -via Reddit

* United States Code

U.S. Code as of: 01/19/04
Section 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations

Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or
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, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal
Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note,
or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined
under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
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tmary, I was going to make a reference to the same thing but you actually found the code itself! Surely he uses bills that have been pulled out of circulation, with permission? In any case these are quite beautiful and impressive.
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The U.S. Code cited above is an intent-based issued. The only case law it was ever cited in is one involving fraudulent altering.

The key words to understanding section 333 are "with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued"

Most people will understand this as defacement (such as shredding) so as the bill is no longer able to be used as a bill (i.e. no one would take it). In reality, in means more along the line of defacement so as when the bank takes it as a deposit and realizes something is wrong (likes it's half a $20 and half a $2 taped together but counted as $20). Now the bank can't re-issue it.

Bottom line, it's not illegal to tear up your own money.
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