Mutilated Or Worn-out Money

( Originally Published 1918 )

The Treasury laws of the United States provide that any one who owns a worn-out, mutilated, or very dirty government note can have a newly printed one therefor by simply presenting the old note at the Treasury building at Washington, either in person or by mail.

The old bills handed in to the department, though still good enough to pass for their face value anywhere, are always destroyed. It is estimated that the old bills sent in to the department for redemption amount to the enormous total of 300,000 bills per day, and their total value to over a million dollars.

Although many private individuals have old bills redeemed at the Treasury, the very great majority of the old bills sent in to be exchanged for new ones are received from banking houses in different parts of the country. Every time any banks come across dilapidated bills they put them aside, and when a few hundred have accumulated they are bundled up carefully and sent to the Treasury by registered letter or express. In each instance the amount of money contained must be plainly marked on the wrapper.

As might well be expected, there are many unscrupulous people who in sending in a bundle of old bills are so dishonest as to mark the contained amount at a figure higher than it really is. Other dishonest people insert one or two counterfeit notes in the midst of their bundle of good ones. In each case, however, these would-be criminals fail in their purpose and are put to a great deal of annoyance besides.

As each bundle of bills comes in, it is counted in the presence of the person delivering it, the number of bills of each denomination in each package being carefully checked off by both the outsider and the Treasury clerk. If the count is satisfactory to both, the parcel is again tied up, secured with the Treasurer's seal, and the messenger goes away with a receipt. Otherwise the whole batch is returned to the sender, who must stand the responsibility if any of the money is lost in going back.

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