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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 38, September 18, 2006, Article 7

WHAT TO DO WITH A HARDENED BRICK OF FORMERLY-WET PAPER MONEY

Web site visitor Carole MacCarter writes: "I have a hardened
"brick" of formerly-wet paper currency, now dry but fragile
and stuck together (think paper mache).  It may be as much as
$10,000, so I am very interested in restoring the bills well
enough so they can be replaced at a bank.  I have had no luck
with getting advice from the bank on how to separate the bills.

Is there some kind of solution I can use to re-wet them so they
might come apart?  Or should I try to slice the dry brick apart?
or?  I don't want to cause more damage to the bills through not
knowing how to do this.  Thanks for any advice you can give me."

[Local banks aren't always aware of all the rules and regulations
covering unusual situations such as mutilated currency.  In this
case, I advised Carole that the thing to do is send the mess back
to the manufacturer, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in
Washington, D.C.  Every year the Department of the Treasury
redeems millions of dollars worth of mutilated money.  The BEP's
web site notes:

"Currency can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most
common causes are: fire, water, chemicals, explosives; animal,
insect or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by
burying. Under regulations issued by the Department of the
Treasury, mutilated United States currency may be exchanged at
face value if:

* more than 50% of a note identifiable as United States currency
is present; or,

* 50% or less of a note identifiable as United States currency
is present, and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence
demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Treasury that the missing
portions have been totally destroyed."

"Mutilated currency may be mailed or personally delivered to the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing. When mutilated currency is
submitted, a letter should be included stating the estimated value
of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became
mutilated. Each case is carefully examined by an experienced
mutilated currency examiner. The amount of time needed to process
each case varies with its complexity and the case workload of the
examiner.

The Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has the final
authority for the settlement of mutilated currency claims.

Although Treasury examiners are usually able to determine the
amount and value of mutilated currency, careful packaging is
essential to prevent additional damage."

The web page describes procedures for packing and shipping
mutilated currency, and gives the following phone numbers for
the Mutilated Currency Division: 1-866-575-2361 or 202-874-8897.

Basically, one should not attempt to separate the glob of currency
- it is best to leave that to the experts at the BEP.  They have
"mutilated currency specialists" whose full-time job is to sort
out messes like this.

To read the original web page in full, see:
Full Story

I've read articles on the work of these mutilated currency
specialists, but was unable to locate any online.  Can anyone
provide a reference?  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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