Stamps and Marks on Money
I have been fascinated with symbols for most of my life. Between tattooing and doing artwork I am regularly exposed to symbols that I am curious about and want to find out the meaning of. I have been wondering about these for a long time. Recently it became my trivia question to ask people if they had seen them and if they knew what they were.
It turns out that most people have never noticed them.
I have my theory. I have heard some other people’s theories. If anyone out there has any idea what they are really…. please let me know. Internet searches have not turned up anything – but this is possibly because the keywords for stamps and currency (and everything else that I could think of) pointed to other more obvious places.
I had always figured they were a drug thing. I thought that some dealers stamped their product with logos and they were probably stamping their money as well just for giggles or maybe for tracking purposes… I don’t know.
One of my friends thinks that they are used by law enforcement to track money that they are giving to criminals to see where it winds up.
Someone suggested that they might be part of the Where’s George thing. I tried testing this theory by entering some of the bills into wheresgeorge.com and they were not listed as being in there.
So here are some of the ones that I have found recently. I am planning on scanning and adding more as I come across them. If you have any – please scan them and send them to me and I will add them here.
a couple more than I found this week:
a couple from June 2010:
this one also has a few:
a couple of more (July 2010)
and one that Jonas found in his travels:
New one July 2010…. a little piggie!!
July 27th, 2010 – the first kanji one that I have seen
This week I asked the folks at my bank about these – thinking they might be able to offer some insight. Every single one of them said that they had never seen them. I pointed out that the money they had just given me had one in it. Nope, none of them had ever noticed them before. They said that they would start to look for them and ask around to see if anyone else knew anything about them. Interestingly enough all of them did point out that it is illegal to mark money in any way (wasn’t clear on whether that was because they thought I might be contributing to the stamping).
I also spoke with a woman who collects currency and taught me a whole lot of other things to watch for on bills, but did not have any insight on the marks. I will keep looking and posting them here when I can.
Dylan found this one today (August 17th,2010) The first duplicate that we have come across:
A few more (Thank you Gretchen!!!)
and today (August 30th, 2010) : a very well marked $50 a fish (on the other end of the same $50) : and another duplicate. Personally I think this makes the foreign currency exchange mark less believable…. but as I have said before that may just be me.
Another one that Jonas found in his travles (Jonas has a particular affinity for Two dollar bills)
weird how some bills have so many – and so many bills have none. This one was found in November 2010
These two bills are not sequential but have apparently been traveling together. So did these bills both go all these places to get stamped? Or were all of the stamps applied in the same place? (Found by me on October 12, 2011)