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Can I sell penny art or is it illegal?

 
 
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 05:55 pm
So, as a Fiber and Material Artist (Edit [Moderator]: Link removed) I am always looking for new materials and new ways to use these materials.
I am half way through creating a work of art using pennies, where I have drilled through the penny at 6 different points around the edge and crochet them together into a flexible plane.

Now, I understand I am allowed to do this.
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 Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent.

But! Here's the big question.
Can I sell this work? Or is it illegal to deface a coin then sell it as artwork?

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 5,454 • Replies: 11
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Reyn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 06:09 pm
@meagangehrke,
Why not check with the mint themselves? Surely they probably have a toll-free number?
meagangehrke
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 06:17 pm
@Reyn,
Yea!
I was going to try tomorrow, but I figured it I could get an idea tonight, I would!
Thanks for the input!
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 06:20 pm
@meagangehrke,
I doubt that they have a problem with it.

in cheesy tourist traps here on the prairie, they used to have a machine that you inserted a penny and a dollar, and it squished the penny into a souvenir.

is that art?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 07:14 pm
@meagangehrke,
So long as there is no attempt to deceive (fraud), you shouldn't have any problem.

ETA: I have no idea why someone tagged the post as "illegal."
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 08:35 pm
@meagangehrke,
meagangehrke wrote:

Yea!
I was going to try tomorrow, but I figured it I could get an idea tonight, I would!
Thanks for the input!

Here is their phone contact page. I'm sure you will be able to get a definitive answer somewhere here:

http://www.usmint.gov/contact_us/
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2011 10:06 pm
@meagangehrke,
http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n36a25.html

Have a read
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2011 03:52 am
@roger,
Quote:
I have no idea why someone tagged the post as "illegal."
possibly because the word is in the the thread title...
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2011 02:27 pm
@Region Philbis,
I'm sure that makes sense. I notice it has since been removed.
0 Replies
 
meagangehrke
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2011 02:11 pm
@meagangehrke,
Well everyone, I actually ran across a decent and liable source given to me by a laser cutting company that clearly states any alteration of US coins or notes is strictly illegal.
Doesn't mean I can't still call and ask.
But, here's the link
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_18_00000333----000-.html
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2011 06:20 pm
@meagangehrke,
meagangehrke wrote:
Well everyone, I actually ran across a decent and liable source given to me by a laser cutting company
that clearly states any alteration of US coins or notes is strictly illegal. [Is THAT what it says????]
Doesn't mean I can't still call and ask.
But, here's the link
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_18_00000333----000-.html
Really??
I remain uncertain as to your interpretation of the statute.
Quoted from your link, it says:

Quote:
"ยง 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations
Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued,[emfasis added by David] shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2011 06:40 pm
@meagangehrke,
Many states still have Blue laws on their respective books: like it's illegal to swear on Sunday or spit onto the sidewalk. Though the law maybe on the books doesn't mean any law enforcement agent/agency would prosecute or would actually be able to enforce such obsolete laws.

I have a feeling that this might be the case for this anticoin-defacing law. I'd bet your first amendment right to create the work would trump the anticoin-defacing law.
0 Replies
 
 

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