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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Trick coin trickery » » Laws in Gaff Coins (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Pablo_Amira
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Temuco, Chile
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Its legal modified a coin?
I'm doing my own gaff, such a cig thru coin Rocco method, and Karate Coins.(Coins from my country)
thanks
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Asombro...lo más elevado a que puede llegar el hombre

Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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Check your local laws on that question.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
marty.sasaki
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So technically it's illegal in the USA to modify the currency, either coins or paper money. Technically it's probably illegal to write on money as well. Practically, unless you modify the money and then try to spend it, you could be prosecuted. So, be careful about spending any coins you have gaffed, probably a good idea anyway.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
ftlum
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Roseville, CA
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With the caveat that I'm not a lawyer:

http://handcutcoins.bizhosting.com/legality.html

U.S. Code is 18 U.S.C. §331 reads: "Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled or lightened - shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [Emphasis added.]"

And then, a clearer description:

Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who 'fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States. This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent. (Source U.S. Mint)
Thomas Wayne
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"Fraudulently" is the operative word in the U.S. statutes. Your money belongs to you; if you choose to alter or deface it for non-fraudulent purposes (i.e., a magic trick) the government couldn't care less.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
invisible
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They are 100% correct.
Pablo_Amira
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Temuco, Chile
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Thanks, I think that Mr. Thomas Wayne answer´s its very good .
I will ask a lawyer friend,and I will told you
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Asombro...lo más elevado a que puede llegar el hombre

Johann Wolfgang Goethe
GeorgeG
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"...are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States"

Agree with the the intent of the code that the key word is to commit a fraudulant act, but this section may eliminate coins not in current circulation, like the 1964 Kennedys and older coins we all cherish in custom gaffs.
Thomas Wayne
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Older coins, while no longer being minted, remain legal tender. If you should choose to do so you can take your '64 Kennedy halves and your '21 Morgans and change them in for face value at any bank.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Though that would be a VERY foolish thing to do!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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GeorgeG
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It's the same policy for old postage stamps (for those philatelists out there)
Mercury52
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Kevin Reylek
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Yup, fraudulent is indeed the key word. I remember seeing a show on the discovery channel (or one of those sorts of channels) where they were talking about the minting of coins, etc. This included some mis-struck coins, including ones that were made as a quarter on one side, and a Sacajawea dollar on the other.

They then showed a guy who makes novelty coins like that, by shaving and gluing a quarter and a dollar coin. Instead of plating the whole thing with gold, he leaves the separate colors.

The president of the mint was on the program, and clearly stated that once you have money, it's yours. He said you can do whatever you want with it, as long as you don't then try to pass it off as real or as something its not. So, yes, it's absolutely illegal to try to pass off an altered piece of money as something of higher value, for instance.

But to make a gaffed coin, mismade bill, etc, for the purpose of a magic trick is absolutely fine in the US.

I think a lot of people overlook the term "fraudulent" as well as this sentence:

"there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent." Meaning, there are no set punishments in place for people who alter money for fun with novelty purposes in mind.

Kevin
Kevin Reylek
Scott Fridinger
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Gloucester Pt, VA
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I wonder if that is why we have such economic problems? We are taking all of our money and destroying it. It is all our fault.
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jackstevens
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I've never heard of anyone doing time for a Scotch & Soda, or for the various forms of jewelry I've seen made from customized coins. If it were illegal big distributors like Adams would never get away with selling two headed quarters.
jordanl
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Just keep in mind that these laws vary by country, for example it is illegal to make gaffs out of Japanese currency in Japan.
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