Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 6
July 2008
What Is It?

Prior to banknotes being withdrawn from circulation (for damage or other reasons) using today's process, the currency hammer was used. (Interestingly, a five-dollar banknote is circulated in Canada for approximately one year; in the United States, the same denomination lasts about 16 months.) The striking action of the tool severed the fibers and security threads in the notes, preventing any possibility of reconstituting the fibers to create another sheet of paper to use for counterfeiting money. The cut or shredded material was then incinerated. This two-part system eliminated any chance of these specialized fibers being reintroduced into circulation in any manner. It should be noted that today a portion of the mechanically shredded material is recycled and reused in a carefully regulated manner.

D.S. Orr

Currency-destroying hammer

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