top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe New Feed

The Mutilated Currency Division

It sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter, but the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Mutilated Currency Division is real and in charge of - you guessed it - mutilated currency. To be clear, they’re not in charge of mutilating the currency, just replacing it. Not only does this division handle more than 30,000 claims a year, totalling $30 million, but the service is free to the public. 

The next time you, by mistake, throw a $5 bill in with the wash you can send it to the Mutilated Currency Division and receive a replacement. However, before you ship off thousands of soggy bills, you must determine if they’re eligible for redemption - not all damaged notes are considered ‘mutilated’. All cash must meet the division's strict criteria to be replaced: Mutilated currency is currency which has been severely damaged... It can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.”  Non-mutilated currency “is any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, or worn out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value.” If 50% of the note is remaining and a few crucial security features are intact, you can receive a replacement note at full value. If less than 50% of the note is remaining, you must show sufficient evidence of how it was mutilated and that the missing parts have been completely destroyed. Seems like a LOT of work for a dirty $5 note. Plus, the division is currently suspending all new orders (assumably due to COVID), so you'll have to hold on to those limp notes a little while longer. This might be why bitcoin is becoming so popular, which - as far as we know - doesn’t get soggy. 

Dig Deeper:

Image by Sharon McCutcheon


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page