Stamps and Marks on Money (Chop Marks)

I have been fascinated with symbols for most of my life. Between tattooing and doing artwork I am regularly exposed to symbols that I am curious about and want to find out the meaning of. I have been wondering about these for a long time. Recently it became my trivia question to ask people if they had seen them and if they knew what they were.

It turns out that most people have never noticed them.

I have my theory. I have heard some other people’s theories. If anyone out there has any idea what they are really…. please let me know. Internet searches have not turned up anything – but this is possibly because the keywords for stamps and currency (and everything else that I could think of) pointed to other more obvious places.


I had always figured they were a drug thing. I thought that some dealers stamped their product with logos and they were probably stamping their money as well just for giggles or maybe for tracking purposes… I don’t know.

One of my friends thinks that they are used by law enforcement to track money that they are giving to criminals to see where it winds up.

Someone suggested that they might be part of the Where’s George thing. I tried testing this theory by entering some of the bills into and they were not listed as being in there.

So here are some of the ones that I have found recently. I am planning on scanning and adding more as I come across them. If you have any – please scan them and send them to me and I will add them here.

a couple more than I found this week:

a couple from June 2010:

this one also has a few:

a couple of more (July 2010)

and one that Jonas found in his travels:

New one July 2010…. a little piggie!!

July 27th, 2010 – the first kanji one that I have seen

This week I asked the folks at my bank about these – thinking they might be able to offer some insight. Every single one of them said that they had never seen them. I pointed out that the money they had just given me had one in it. Nope, none of them had ever noticed them before. They said that they would start to look for them and ask around to see if anyone else knew anything about them. Interestingly enough all of them did point out that it is illegal to mark money in any way (wasn’t clear on whether that was because they thought I might be contributing to the stamping).

I also spoke with a woman who collects currency and taught me a whole lot of other things to watch for on bills, but did not have any insight on the marks. I will keep looking and posting them here when I can.

Dylan found this one today (August 17th,2010) The first duplicate that we have come across:

Found this one at the tattoo convention this weekend: (ROC City)

A few more (Thank you Gretchen!!!)

and today (August 30th, 2010) : a very well marked $50 a fish (on the other end of the same $50) : and another duplicate. Personally I think this makes the foreign currency exchange mark less believable…. but as I have said before that may just be me.

Another one that Jonas found in his travles (Jonas has a particular affinity for Two dollar bills)

weird how some bills have so many – and so many bills have none. This one was found in November 2010

Linbar Change stamp on $50 bill

These two bills are not sequential but have apparently been traveling together. So did these bills both go all these places to get stamped? Or were all of the stamps applied in the same place? (Found by me on October 12, 2011)

marked Fifty dollar bills

Emailed by Brittanie:



~ by justteejay on May 11, 2010.

115 Responses to “Stamps and Marks on Money (Chop Marks)”

  1. teejay,

    here’s an answer for you from a bunch of coin collectors… they are chopmarks. for more info read this link:

  2. Yay! Gretchen thank you so much!
    Very cool and much better than thinking it was drug dealers.

  3. now the fun really starts, follow chops!

    • aaah – more geekdom for me! I already enter the wheresgeorge bills that I find. Now I will be scanning and collecting these to see what I can find. Fascinating that most of the ones that the other post described look like kanji while the ones that I am finding are more of the picture variety. It will be interesting to collect them.
      Thank you again for solving the mystery.

  4. Another blog that I came across asking about them

  5. and another that explains them as chop marks

  6. I work at a local casino and come across these all day, most often on $100’s. The slot machines won’t accept them due to the marks on the back. I take these bills out of casino circulation all the time.

  7. Just got some 100$ bills yesterday and i just happen to be counting them and saw on 3 of them that they were stamped each one with a different mark. I would like to scan them and post them on here will some one tell me how to post the images.

  8. My nephew is a numismatist and wanted to visit the Mint when he was here in north TX visiting this summer, so we packed up the whole family and went in. I wouldn’t’ve thought I’d find it so fascinating, but we were all pretty amazed by the cool things we learned and saw, not least of all where all of the symbols and design elements originated, how they evolved, and the incredible artistic process all American paper currency undergoes continually. I had NO idea! As an artist I was blown away by the old-school craftsmanship still used. I have a feeling you’d be greatly impressed by the stuff too, given *your* artistry and interest in the add-on art that becomes part of the stream of currency with these chops!

    • That does sound like it would be a wonderful experience. I think there is a mint in Philadelphia (?) not sure – I will have to go and look it up. Would be a great weekend trip. Thanks!

  9. […] The original post and many subsequent marks was posted here: Stamps and Marks on Money […]

  10. I have continued this thread on a new post which can be found here:


  11. […] Stamps and Marks on Money […]

  12. My comment is on the last pic. It seems they show the least amount of circulation. I assume the receiving exchange stamped it once when then acquired it. Then it was sold to another exchange who stamped it again, before they sold it to the person who spent it in the united states.

  13. I have one bill with 9 small stamps on it. I’ve been looking everywhere for their meaning. let me know if you want a photo and I’ll send it!

  14. Are you still collecting?

    • I still take note of them and sometimes take photos of the neat ones – but I haven’t been posting them lately as my scanner isn’t working properly. If you have images you can send them and I will add them on here.

    • I’m still collecting. I have been away from the blog so I wasn’t posting. I have a bunch that have been emailed me – enough that I may need to start another post with them.

  15. i actually believe some of them come from check cashing places, i have a $50 with a few different marks on it

  16. E mail me! I have pictures of some stamps on my bills I can send you.

  17. I have one, I cant find it anywhere and there is no pictures of it anywhere, Nothing. I guess Im the only one thats ever found one of them? I dont know. But anyway, I should probably tell you what it is, its a 20$ bill, and the stamp on it is a blue tiger. The whole body including the face and its blue. Ive found some about a blue tiger eye, but thats all. its like the stamp i have doesnt exist or something lol or maybe its rare?

  18. I came across your blog seeking the same answers. I have a 20 dollar bill that has quite a few stamps on it. ( none of which I saw on your page.) it makes me want my own mini stamp. Lol. I did wonder though… some have hand written numbers on them, and my guess is it would be a way of marking an amount in a savings cache. The stamps have me stumped. I’m holding on to that twenty. I may just start a stamped bill savings cache! Lol

    • I was saving them for a little while and I started to find way too many to hold on to. That was when I had started taking pictures of them instead.

  19. I have also been noticing stamps and little hand written letters or symbols on the Australian $50 notes and also believe it to be possibly law enforcement trying to track where the money is going!? I have a few that have the same symbol stamped but numbers are the same, some with pencil initials and plenty others, but the most cool one has a perfect statue of liberty stamped on it! would love to show you if you want to send me your email.

    • I don’t have any answers for you, but I would love to see the photos that you have. My email is
      None of the law enforcement folks I have talked to here have used these type of stamps (or chop marks) to mark bills.

  20. I found a $20 that has (jL) symbol on it, and I cant see to find any evidence of where it might have come from.

  21. Google chop marks. That’s what they are.

  22. I have a very well marked 50 I am holding on too..maybe you have seen these marking the numbers don’t match will see what I can I send a photo of it.

  23. I’ve got a new one for you. A statue of liberty on the 20 of the $20 bill

  24. Hey I’ve got a new one for you. If you want a picture of it let me know

  25. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture, because I saw it as I was handing it over and couldn’t ask for it back, but I saw something today on a fifty. In the same place as the little red star in the next-to-last picture, I saw the number one, inside a triangle, inside a circle. There may have been more I didn’t see.

  26. Someone told me that these marks represent particular country to which the notes were physically transferred to.

    I still don’t believe it!

  27. I’ve got a one dollar bill with the sovietic union hammer and sickle

  28. I believe alot of them are there just to be there. I habe a tendency to write notes on the margins. I habe friends who stamp every bill to see if it comes back or just to see if anyone notices. that or the illuminati is escalating it’s plans…. mwa hahahaha.

  29. My client told me that banks in the foreign countries stamp the bills

    • I have heard that. That the banks and/or money exchangers mark them after they have verified them as not counterfeit. It may very well be the source of some of the marks. I still find it hard to believe that it could be all of them since such a high percentage of larger bills are marked. It’s hard to imagine that many of them have been out of the Country and returned.

  30. I have a $20 with some very odd stamps on it! Trying to figure out what it means?

  31. Found 20$ 2013 stamped !

  32. Thought you’d like to add this to your Gallery 🙂 IMight just start my own lol, but looks like I’ve got lots to catch up on!


    Hope this is a new one! I enjoy seeing more of these interesting stamps you’ve posted than those of George Washington 🙂


    (It’s a stamp in cursive that says “Maycot” I believe. If you can’t fetch them from this email you can email me and I’ll resend the pictures if you’d like them)

  33. I have a $50 bill that has a black star stamp on one side, and a raised stamped seal on the other side. Do you have any information on the raised seal and why it’s there? I’ve never seen anything like it before.

    • I’m sorry, I don’t have any additional information for you on the raised seal. I really honestly haven’t gotten an answer that I believe 100% on any of these stamps and marks. I continue to find them interesting and I guess at the end of the day there are a lot of reasons why someone would mark money and we are never going to know all of them or what drove a particular marking. It’s good that there are still some mysteries left in the world.

  34. Very interesting. I came across your posting after I decided to search for stampings on currency. I found a newer ten dollar bill with a lion stamped inside the oval, where there is a watermark.

  35. I have a one dollar bill with several marks like where’s George been, report this bill and a purple heart stamp

    • A lot of the Where’s George users will add other stamps to their bills to get them noticed more frequently. Did you log it to see where it’s been?

  36. I have a 2009 $20 bill with a guy parachuting has anyone ever seen one before?

  37. I just got a $20 bill out of the ATM that has a start over the a on USA not sure if it’s one of these, but I did get a $20 bill a few weeks ago with a weird little symbol stamped on it. I tried holding on to it but unfortunately I had to spend it.

  38. I have a 20 with a upside down triangle with a question mark in it all black

  39. Hey there brother, I just came across a 50.00 note with sum kinda stamp on the obverse side was wondering if u have seen 1 of these b4? Thanks 4 ur time & keep up the good work.

  40. Just got a 20 out of an atm that has a red smiley face stamp, with a 700 written on it. Thank you for this post, it’s helpful! 😊

  41. Found a 20 dollar bill would like to know if it’s a stamp or a misprint has two bicycle stamps on back of it

  42. I found a purple stork with initails AF mixes into it in NJ if youd like to add the pic. Please let me know how to send it, my email is and if you write please add Purple Stork to the subject line so i dont overlook it. I saved the pic to my phone in case you wanted it. Its really pretty for such a small stamp. I tried to look it up but got no info from the search

  43. I have a 20 bill with a green spider ink stamp on it .i was curious too

  44. I just found something similar on a us 20 dollar bill. A watermark spider on the front rgt side and a pig on the reverse top left corner, and initials on reverse “CN” on rgt side. It has a low serial # as well. 01000709

  45. I have recently seen one that sparked my interest I have an image I would like to share with you maybe you could give me a reply email I would really love to know who does this weather it’s government or mob related seems spooky and mysterious to me

    • Joseph, I have heard a lot of theories, but nothing that explains all of them. I don’t have any answers. I just continue to collect photos of them. ~TeeJay

  46. Found a stamp of the Statue of Liberty on my 50

  47. […] […]

  48. I have currency with two stamps that you don’t have listed. I received them recently in Albuquerque New Mexico. I can’t figure out how to upload the photographs though. Can I email them to you?

  49. I totally thought the same thing about the Stamps being drug related!!! I work in a casino and I see tons of stamped money all say long . I try and get some of them if I make enough in tips. I’m always totally fascinated with the Stamps. Seen quite a few really cool ones. None of my fellow co workers give a crap about the stamps. Just me.

    • Honestly most people never even notice them. Even bank tellers that I talk to tell me that they have never seen them before. Goes to prove that we all see different aspects of the world.

  50. Enjoyed this, I feel alright now knowing I’m not the only one who noticed the symbols. In my area I’ve come across quiet a few purple triangle ones accompanied by that weird purple splat in the beginning or a circle I can’t quiet make out. Some I can justify the possible reason for why one might be on a bill but others are just odd.

    • It makes me happy that other people are out there wondering about them as well. Maybe someday all of us will get an actual explanation – but maybe not. I guess it is good to have some mysteries in life.
      I do find it interesting that you have seen the same one multiple times. In all the years I have been doing this I have only come across the same stamp a few times and some of those the bills were together.
      If you would like to send me photos of any of them I will post them to the newer collection.

  51. This act is causing frustration for me. Banks in Uganda don’t accept those dollars for exchange and I recently got such a dollar in my travel from Philippines. I don’t know what to do.

    • Stephen, that must be extremely frustrating. Here the banks don’t even seem to notice the marks. I have asked many of the tellers about them and most of them have never even noticed them. The marking of the bills is illegal here, but I have never heard of it causing a problem before this.

  52. I met a bar owner who stamped his to see if the girls were ripping him off.
    Another one was just to see if repeat bills came through their cocinos more than once if they were out of towns.That was to see if they were counterfeit as well.

  53. I just looked a $50 bill that I have and found an anchor on the back and didn’t find none on the others. What does it mean?

  54. I just got paid for babysitting last night and there is a good-sized stamp of a dove on the small yellow 50’s on the right side of the back. I’ve seen markings on bills before but nothing like this.

  55. Just found a little horseshoe on a 20!

  56. Have a $50 bill with NG stamp on back of $50 bill, in upper left hand corner of back side? Do u know what this could be?

  57. I have a stamp of a bicycle on my 20$

  58. I found a twenty with a star on it…

  59. I have a 20 dollar bill with the stamp statue of liberty

  60. How can I get an image to you? I have one that is on a $100 bill.

  61. I have a $20 dollar bill that has a red Lion an black symbol on front an on back is blue circle looks like a table saw blade. I don’t know how to post a pic cuz it’s mind boggling.. thank u

  62. I found one with a circle and it says MC$
    I’m curious too

  63. Where can I send you the scan…I found 3

  64. Just came across this. Yes, I do realize is almost 12 yrs old, but I am also very intrigued by the mini stamps on paper money too! I came across this one today. I think it’s really cool!!


  65. I also have one that I can’t seem to find anything out about. It’s s blue circle on a 100 bill with writing that I can’t make out.

  66. How do I send you a picture of the money for you to upload? Is there a link? Sorry I’m not very tech savvy and may have overlooked it.

  67. Do Stamps or Marks on Bills worth some? If yes, I have some bills of that kind.

  68. Well can you please tell me what these chopmarks are and are they worth anything Thank You

    • I still don’t know what they are exactly and they do not affect the face value of the bill in any way. They add no value to the bill beyond curiosity.

  69. I found a 10 dollar bill star note , with double As stamp on the back of bill , but dont look like a stamp . Looks more like if it came like that .. thanks

  70. I have a dollar bill that has a green stamp, upside down. Its not even half of a rectangle, with an arrow at the bottom facing right. Inside the unfinished rectangle is an “M”.

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