Is it illegal to cut out coins?
We have all see Cut Coin Jewelry as pendants, or necklaces, in money clips, on earrings, and in belt buckles. Many people see the familiar coin, notice it is a "cut out coin," and then say,
"It's against the law to do that to a coin!"
"Isn’t that illegal to cut out a U.S. Silver Dollar Coin?"
"You can get in trouble for defacing money!"
I hear questions and comments like these every so often after someone sees cut out coins for jewelry. Maybe you too had assumed Cut Coin Jewelry is considered the defacing of the coin, and thus illegal to do so.
Rest assured the cut coins you see here on ebay and ebay express, such as cut-coin money clips or state quarter charm pendants do not violate any U.S. statute provided that the alteration to the coin is not done with fraudulent intent.
These handsome and beatiful coins are done for a purpose -- jewelry, not with intent to defaud.
Huh? What does that mean?
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.]"
Still sounds like something you can't do, right?
This paragraph from the U.S. Mint website should clear this up:
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)
So browse and enjoy the fine craft of coin cutting. A finely crafted coin money clip for him, a state quarter charm pendant for her, groomsmen gifts for the wedding party, executive awards for your sales team, a even a belt buckle. When you are shopping for a unique, very special gift, for a man that appreciates and deserves the finest, you probably will find it here.
Coming soon: History of Cut Coin Jewelry.
Do you have information you’d like to share about the history of cut coin jewelry? Contact author with your knowledge.