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Illustrations of Currency, Checks or Other Obligations

The law sharply restricts photographs or other printed reproductions of paper currency, checks, bonds, revenue stamps and securities of the United States and foreign governments.

For additional illustrations of U.S. currency visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


U.S. Currency
The Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992, Public Law 102-550, in Section 411 of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, permits color illustrations of U.S. currency provided:
  • The illustration is of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of the item illustrated

  • The illustration is one-sided

  • All negatives, plates, positives, digitized storage medium, graphic files, magnetic medium, optical storage devices, and any other thing used in the making of the illustration that contain an image of the illustration or any part thereof are destroyed and/or deleted or erased after their final use

Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992


Other Obligations and Securities
Photographic or other likenesses of other United States obligations and securities and foreign currencies are permissible for any non-fraudulent purpose, provided the items are reproduced in black and white and are less than three-quarters or greater than one-and-one-half times the size, in linear dimension, of any part of the original item being reproduced. Negatives and plates used in making the likenesses must be destroyed after their use for the purpose for which they were made. This policy permits the use of currency reproductions in commercial advertisements, provided they conform to the size and color restrictions.

Motion picture films, microfilms, videotapes, and slides of paper currency, securities, and other obligations may be made in color or black and white for projection or telecasting. No prints may be made from these unless they conform to the size and color restrictions.


Coins
Photographs, printed illustrations, motion picture film or slides of United States and foreign coins may be used for any purpose.

With few exceptions, existing law generally prohibits the manufacture, sale or use of any token, disk or device in the likeness or similitude of any coins of the United States, or of any foreign country, which are issued as money.


U.S. Postage Stamps, Foreign Postage Stamps and Revenue Stamps
Printed illustrations of United States and foreign stamps are permissible for any non-fraudulent purpose. Black and white illustrations of uncanceled United States and foreign postage stamps are permissible in any size. Color illustrations of uncanceled United States and foreign postage stamps must be less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half times the size of the genuine stamp. Canceled United States and foreign postage stamps may be of any size whether the illustrations are in color or black and white.

Note: Canceled U.S. and foreign postage stamps must bear an official cancellation mark, i.e., the stamps must have been used for postage. Also, the plates and negatives, including glossy prints, of any United States or foreign obligations must be destroyed after their final use for the purpose for which they were made.

Printed illustrations of United States and foreign revenue stamps are permissible in black and white only. There are no size restrictions for revenue stamps.

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