Fake denominations of United States currency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
A fake $3 bill distributed by LGBT activists as a "Queer Dollar" for use in protesting policies of the Salvation Army, referencing the simile queer as a three dollar bill.

Fake denominations of United States currency have been created by individuals as practical jokes or to make a statement and do not assert that they are legal tender. The Federal Reserve declares them legal to print as long as they are not presented as genuine currency. In some cases money seen as fake today were at one time real currency that has since been long ago demonetized.

Nixon Penny[edit]

These copper coins were about one-quarter the size of a regular U.S. cent and depicted President Richard M. Nixon on the obverse. The reverse showed the Watergate Hotel. They were issued as novelty items and as political commentary on President Nixon.[1]


Although both the colony of Massachusetts [2] and the Thirteen Colonies[3] printed $3 bills, the United States never issued one; however, a $3.00 gold 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, by the Republic of Texas, and the Confederacy.[4] Before the creation of the Federal Reserve System, individual banks offered their own currencies.[5]

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, both 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 printed a $3 bill that featured a portrait of Alfred E. Neuman and read: "This is not legal tender—nor will tenderizer help it." Mad writer Frank Jacobs said that the magazine ran afoul of the US Secret Service because the $3 bill was accepted by change machines at Boise, Idaho, casinos.[6] In the first decade of the 21st century, gay rights groups 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 alleged policy against gay rights.[7][8]


Like the $3 bill, the United States has never issued a $4 note but briefly issued a $4 goloid (an alloy of gold, silver, and copper) coin known as the "stella" in 1879.

$7 and $8[edit]

In 1780 $7 and $8 notes were issued for the State of Massachusetts Bay.[9] No $7 or $8 notes though have ever been issued by the United States as post-colonial currency or coinage.


Once at an airport hotel in Wichita, Kansas, a 22 year old man was arrested after he tried to pass in two $16 bills.[citation needed]


In 2001, a local man purchased $99 worth of merchandise in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, at a Fashion Bug store 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.[10]

A man in Danville, Kentucky, passed a similar counterfeit bill at a local Dairy Queen to pay for a $2 meal. He received $198 in real change.[10]


"Million dollar bill" redirects here. For the song by Whitney Houston, see Million Dollar Bill.

The United States has never issued a million dollar bill.[11] 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.

Some have attempted to fraudulently pass or otherwise use these novelty bills as though they were real currency, usually resulting in arrest. In March 2004, Alice Regina Pike 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, and then she asked for change. She was arrested on a charge of forgery.[11][12]

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 served time at the Allegheny County Jail. The US Secret Service was also investigating this case.[13]

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.[14]

In December 2011, Michael Anthony Fuller attempted to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise totaling $476 from a Wal-Mart in Lexington, North Carolina, with a $1 million bill.[15] Court records show that Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies.

On July 31, 2013, in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, police seized a stash of phony bills, primarily million dollar bills. 998 of those bills were seized and two suspects were detained.[16]


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.[17] 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 South Korea in 2002.


In 2014, Michael Williams attempted to purchase a meal at an Applebee's in Sumter, South Carolina with a trillion dollar bill. When police arrived, he was arrested on an unrelated contempt of court charge.[18]

In fiction[edit]

The 1992 novel Snow Crash mentions future hyperinflation using trillion dollar bills (Ed Meeses) and quadrillion dollar bills (the Gipper).

Monopoly Junior formerly included $3 and $4 denominated Monopoly money in addition to $1, $2 and $5 notes. (As of 2014, the game only includes one denomination of money—$1.)[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.

A fictional one trillion (10004) dollar bill forms the basis of the plot of the The Simpsons episode "The Trouble with Trillions". It features a portrait of Harry Truman giving a thumbs-up with one hand and the a-ok sign with the other. This fake trillion dollar bill can also be found in numerous Kip Kay videos on YouTube such as "Booby Trapped Briefcase".

In Christopher Paul Curtis's 2007 children's book Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, the main plot element is a quadrillion-dollar-bill, featuring James Brown.

On the Futurama episode Three Hundred Big Boys, Earth President Richard Nixon introduced a $300 bill with his head on it for a tax refund to give to the citizens of Earth. $30 bills featuring Braino on the front have also appeared in the episode Benderama.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://coinquest.com/cgi-bin/cq/coins?main_coin=14728
  2. ^ "Educational Technological clearinghouse-Paper Money, Three Dollar Bill, 1780". Etc.usf.edu. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  3. ^ "United Colonies Currency - Three Dollar Bill". Awesome Stories. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  4. ^ http://threes.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2395&Itemid=39
  5. ^ Common Place vol. 4 no. 4, Stephen Mihm. http://www.common-place.org/vol-04/no-04/mihm/2.shtml
  6. ^ The MAD World of William M. Gaines, by Frank Jacobs, 1972; Lyle Stuart
  7. ^ George Ochoa and Melinda Corey (2005), The 100 Best Trends: Emerging Developments You Can't Afford to Ignore, F+W Media, Inc. Page 105.
  8. ^ Protest Salvation Army's Discrimination Against Gays With Queer Dollars, website accessed September 12, 2011
  9. ^ "Massachusetts Currency". www.coins.nd.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  10. ^ a b "In Anything We Trust". MSNBC. 2004-09-01. Archived from the original on 2004-09-02. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  11. ^ a b Woman says she thought $1 million bill was real, AP, via MSNBC.com, March 11, 2004.
  12. ^ "Got Change For A Million?". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Man Jailed After Trying To Pass $1 Million Bill At Pittsburgh Giant Eagle". WTAE-TV. Retrieved 9 October 2007. 
  14. ^ "Fake Million Dollar Bill Lands Man in Jail". NBC. 2004-09-01. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  15. ^ John Hinton (December 31, 2011), "Lexington man charged with making a fake $1 million bill and trying to spend it", Winston-Salem Journal 
  16. ^ Kencana, Dhana (31 July 2013). "Can't Fake It". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Homeland Security Agents Seize "Billion Dollar" Bogus Federal Reserve Notes". Communitydispatch.com. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  18. ^ By Anne-Kathryn Flanagan (2014-02-21). "SUMTER, SC: Police: Man tried to pay tab with trillion dollar bill | Crime". The State. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 

External links[edit]