Currency Reproduction Guide

The following guidelines were extracted from an outline prepared by the Printing Industries Association of California. Laws change, so consult Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Sections 475 and 504 for current regulations.

U.S. or Foreign Currency
Three criteria must be met when reproducing currency:
(1) Currency cannot be reproduced at actual size. Currency must be reproduced at more than 1.5 times actual size or less than .75 actual size in the linear dimension of the currency or any part of the currency.
(2) The illustration must be one sided.
(3) Artwork must be destroyed. All negatives, plates, positives, digitized storage medium, graphic files, magnetic medium, and optical storage that contain an image of currency must be destroyed and/or deleted or erased after their final use.

U.S. Treasury Checks and Bonds
Law (18 USC 475) permits photographic or likeness of U.S. Treasury checks and bonds for any purpose provided the items meet the three tests for currency reproduction summarized in the above paragraph.

Coins
Law (18 USC 504) allows for reproduction of coins as follows:
Illustrations and flat images: Coins may be reproduced in any size or color.
Genuine (raised images): Coins may be reproduced if the reproduction is either twice the diameter of a silver dollar or less than half the diameter of a dime.
Other requirements: Reproductions must conform to the provisions of the Hobby Protection Act and marked Copy in the prescribed manner.

Stamps
Law (18 USC 504) sets the following guidelines for the reproduction of stamps (postage, postage meter, revenue, migratory bird hunting):
Canceled stamps: Full color, actual size reproductions permitted.
Uncanceled stamps: Full color reproductions or replications must be 1.5 times actual size, or less than .75 actual size. There are no restrictions on black and white reproductions of uncanceled stamps.

Important Note
If the currency, coin, or stamp has been distorted or only a portion is used, or the portrait or language has been altered or substituted the image must still meet the three criteria for reproduction. These guidelines apply to all methods of reproduction including digital copies, camera prints, etc.