Mutilated currency

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Mutilated currency is a term used by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) to describe currency which is damaged to the point where it is difficult to determine the value of the currency, or where it is not clear that at least half of the note is present. Common causes of damage are fire, water, chemicals, explosives, animals or damage from extended burying of the currency.


Banknotes which are merely very dirty, or very worn out, but where the value is clear, are not considered mutilated and can be traded in at any bank from where they will eventually be processed out of circulation.

In general, mutilated currency of US dollars can be sent to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for evaluation, and if it is determined that at least half of the currency is present, or there is clear enough evidence that whatever parts are missing are destroyed, the owner of the mutilated currency can have the money value of the mutilated currency refunded to them. Annually, this amounts to about 30,000 claims and over $30 million in refunds.