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Q: Defacing money in the UK ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Defacing money in the UK
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: willtingle-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 09 Apr 2006 08:57 PDT
Expires: 09 May 2006 08:57 PDT
Question ID: 717085
is it illigal to write on paper money in the uk?
Answer  
Subject: Re: Defacing money in the UK
Answered By: palitoy-ga on 09 Apr 2006 10:07 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
 
Hello willtingle-ga,

Thank-you for your question.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence on the internet stating that it
is illegal to write on banknotes in the UK but it is difficult to
track down any evidence.  There appears to be nothing stating this
fact on either the Bank of England or Royal Mint websites.  I have
though managed to track down some evidence!

"The British Currency and Bank Notes Act, 1928, provides: ?
If any person prints or stamps or by any like means impresses on any
bank note any words, letters or figures, he shall, in respect of each
offence, be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding
one pound."
http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0035/D.0035.193006120014.html

Upon further research into the British Currency and Bank Notes Act I
found this statement on the Wikipedia:

"Concerning notes, the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1928 says If any
person prints, or stamps, or by any means impresses, on any bank note
any words, letters or figures, he shall, in respect of each offence,
be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding one pound.
The penalty was changed to 25 in 1977 (Criminal Law Act, s.31) and to
200 in 1982 (Criminal Justice Act, s.46)."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reference_desk_archive/July_2004

It therefore does appear to be illegal to write on banknotes in the UK.

Further reading on this subject can be found here:
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/about/further_reading.htm

You can also contact the Bank of England directly here:
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/contact.htm
willtingle-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Good answer - I had found the anicdotal evidence (reams of it) myself,
but had been unable to find actual evidence.

The only reason this is 4* not 5* is that your main point of reference
is wikipedia; which I understand is written by slf-proclaimd "experts"
from amongsed the public, and therefore /may/ not always be 100% -
hoowever the answer sounds authorotive enough and will certainly do me
- thanx for the quick responce.

Comments  
Subject: Re: Defacing money in the UK
From: markvmd-ga on 09 Apr 2006 11:05 PDT
 
Depending on what is written or stamped I'd wager you could mount a
free speech defense. It's something we came up with in the Colonies a
few years back.
Subject: Re: Defacing money in the UK
From: edejl-ga on 09 Apr 2006 14:22 PDT
 
Hey fellow Brit, there are rumours that putting a stamp upside down is
illegal because it defaces the Queen or something - but I don't know
whether there is any truth in that. I can see why it might be illegal
because all money bears the Queen's image and that should not be
defaced. However, banks always write on money marking the batch or
amount in that pack and you always find fivers with something written
on the watermark.
Subject: Re: Defacing money in the UK
From: willtingle-ga on 09 Apr 2006 15:41 PDT
 
markvmd - frees speach counts for very little in the UK as there is no
constitutional right.

edejl - I believe defacing the queens image is an offence (technicly
treason) - however defacing darwing (the "tails" side of a tenner" is
fine, hence the money - spesific question.

you are right that banks and shops write on money all the time - but
just because somthing is common practace doesn't make it legal...
Subject: Re: Defacing money in the UK
From: myoarin-ga on 09 Apr 2006 17:44 PDT
 
Defacing bank notes is illegal, probably under the laws of all
countries that have paper money.  The laws describe "deface" in
various ways, including writing on them.  The principle is to avoid
people misusing the notes in any way: counterfeiting, advertising,
destroying the notes' value.  The practical difficulty of identifying
the perpetrator makes the law irrelevant in most instances.

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