There are many fun facts surrounding pennies. And since I make lots of jewelry with them, I thought it may be fun to start a series of blog articles examining them one by one.
The question I get asked most at shows is if it's illegal to deface pennies for my jewelry? In this blog post, I will explore whether it is illegal to enamel pennies to make jewelry with.
First and foremost, it is important to note that defacing currency is illegal in the United States. According to Title 18, Section 331 of the United States Code, it is a federal offense to "mutilate, cut, deface, disfigure, or perforate, or unite or cement together, or do any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued."
Pennies are considered currency and are subject to the same laws as other forms of currency. Therefore, it is technically illegal to deface a penny by enameling it to make jewelry with. However, the key issue is intent. If you are defacing pennies with the intent to make them unfit to be reissued, then you are breaking the law.
On the other hand, if you are enameling pennies for artistic purposes and have no intention of making them unfit to be reissued, then you are not breaking the law. In fact, the U.S. Mint has stated that it is legal to alter coins for educational, artistic, novelty, and amusement purposes as long as the coins are not used fraudulently.
In conclusion, since I am enameling pennies for artistic purposes and have no intention of making them unfit to be reissued, then I am not breaking the law. So you can buy and wear my enameled penny jewelry with a clean conscience.
SHOP OUR ENAMELED PENNY JEWELRY
Future questions I will cover in blog articles are:
- How do I curve my pennies?
- What dates can I request the pennies to show?
- What are pennies from heaven?
- Why are pennies associated with luck?
- Will this penny jewelry make me lucky?