3 Fake denominations of United States currency

Fake denominations of United States currency

A fake $3 bill distributed by LGBT activists as a "Queer Dollar" for use in protesting policies of the Salvation Army

Fake denominations of United States currency have been created by individuals as practical joke and do not assert that they are legal tender. The bills often have images of their enemies or other people. The bills usually have "THIS IS NOT LEGAL TENDER FOR ANY DEBTS, THE PUBLIC, OR PRIVATE". The Federal Reserve declares them legal to print as long as they are not presented as genuine currency.



Although both the colony of Massachusetts [1] and the Thirteen Colonies[2] printed $3 bills, the United States never issued one; however, a $3 coin was issued by the U.S. from 1854 to 1889.

Legitimate three-dollar bills were also produced by various banks in the early days of the United States and by the Confederacy.[3] Before the creation of the Federal Reserve System, individual banks offered their own currencies.[4]

Various fake $3 bills have been released over time, generally poking fun at politicians or celebrities such as Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama in reference to the idiomatic expression "queer as a three-dollar bill" or "phony as a three dollar bill". In the 1960s, Mad magazine printed a three-dollar bill that featured a portrait of Alfred E. Neuman and read: "This is not legal tender—nor will tenderizer help it."[5] In the first decade of the 21st century, gay rights organizations encouraged supporters to print obviously fake $3 bills, called "Queer Dollars", and place the fake bills in Salvation Army donation buckets as a protest against that organization's discriminatory policies. [6][7]

Monopoly Junior includes $3 and $4 denominated Monopoly money in addition to $1, $2 and $5 notes. Like the $3 bill, the United States has never issued a $4 currency but briefly issued a $4 coin known as the "stella" in 1879


In 2001, a local man purchased $99 worth of merchandise at a Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Fashion Bug with a $200 bill featuring then-President George W. Bush on the front. The back featured an image of the White House with signs in the front lawn, bearing phrases such as "WE LIKE BROCCOLI" and "USA DESERVES A TAX CUT." The local man was later charged with forgery, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.[8] A man in Danville, Kentucky passed a similar counterfeit bill at a local Dairy Queen, receiving $198 in real change.[8]


The United States has never issued a million dollar bill.[9] However, many businesses print million dollar bills for sale as novelties. Such bills do not assert that they are legal tender. The Federal Reserve has declared them legal to print or own and does not consider them counterfeit because no genuine million dollar bill exists or ever has existed. At least one vendor printed the bills using the same intaglio printing process and cotton rag stock as actual currency, using the American Bank Note Company as their printing contractor.

In March 2004, a woman attempted to use a novelty $1,000,000 bill with a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the front to purchase $1671.55 in goods from a Wal-Mart in Covington, Georgia. When she was arrested on a charge of forgery, she said she had thought the bill was genuine.[9]

In October 2007, Samuel Porter tried to get change for a million dollar bill at a Giant Eagle store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The store manager confiscated the bogus bill and Mr. Porter flew into a rage. He slammed an electronic funds-transfer machine into the cashier's counter and reached for a scanner gun at the store. He was later arrested and charged for forgery and he is serving time at the Allegheny County Jail. The US Secret Service was also investigating this case. [10]

In November 2007, Alexander D. Smith tried to open a bank account in Aiken County, South Carolina, by depositing a $1,000,000 bill. The bank employee refused to deposit the bill and called the police. Smith was immediately arrested on a charge of forgery.[11]

The Libertarian Party makes an annual tradition of handing out informational fliers made to look like $1,000,000 bills on April 15 to draw attention to its anti-income tax platform.

Christian evangelist Ray Comfort's ministry, Living Waters Publications, produces a fake $1,000,000 bill – resembling an amalgam of the series 1996 $100 bill and the series 2004 $10 bill, and featuring Rutherford B. Hayes – which is in reality a Christian gospel tract, with the gospel message printed on the reverse. They have printed other designs in the past, including one featuring Grover Cleveland, based on the series 2004 $20 bill. All versions have included one or more links to the ministry's websites and the statement "This is NOT legal tender for all debts, public and private." After someone attempted to deposit one of the fake bills in North Carolina, the Secret Service raided The Great News Network, a sister ministry to LWP based in Denton, Texas, on June 2, 2006. The Secret Service told workers at GNN they would locate and seize all of the million dollar bills at LWP's Bellflower, California, headquarters. Comfort has been advised by his lawyers to refuse such an action, and no warrants yet appear to have been issued for the tracts.[citation needed] However, in a precautionary move, LWP also temporarily produced an enlarged "Secret Service version".[citation needed]

The Mad Magazine Game features a $1,329,063 bill that serves as an Old Maid in the game, in which the players compete to lose all their money. The bill features a portrait of Alfred E. Neuman.


In March 2006, agents from ICE and the Secret Service seized 250 notes, each bearing a denomination of $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) from a West Hollywood apartment.[12] The suspect had previously been arrested on federal charges for attempting to smuggle more than $37,000 in currency into the U.S. following a trip to Korea in 2002.

See also


External links

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