Money that may appear lost, may not be after all thanks to special security features that are integrated into modern banknotes – in this case the dollar. Even if your notes are reduced to tiny little slivers of shredded paper, central bank forensic specialists can identify the number of damaged notes as well as their denomination.
This was some very good news for the Belnap family of Salt Lake City. These football fans spent the past year trying to stash some cash away to pay back the in-laws for University of Utah season tickets, only to come home one day and realize that their $1,060 envelope went missing.
The culprit? Their 2-year-old son who had recently discovered the joys the shredder. Thankfully for the Balnaps, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has a dedicated “Mutilated Currency Division” devoted to “redeeming” burned, waterlogged, chemically altered, rodent-chewed or deteriorated money. The service is free for the public. Every year the Treasury Department handles approximately 30,000 claims, redeeming more than $30 million in mutilated notes.
Following the costly accident, the couple submitted the destroyed banknotes in a Ziploc bag for expertise to the Treasury Department. According to the department’s policy, if the notes can be identified as authentic U.S. currency, the face value of the bill will be fully redeemed. The expertise is held even when more than 50% of a note is mutilated. The procedure may last from 6 months up to 3 years, depending on the complexity of the damage.