More Printable Money

Speaking of counterfeiting, printing money, and counterfeit prints about money, it’s been a while since I’ve heard any news about the legal troubles of J.S.G. Boggs. After years of dodging dubious counterfeiting claims in several countries, in early 2007 Boggs (a.k.a. Steve Litzner) was laid low by drug possession charges.

Lawrence Weschler’s 2000 book about Boggs covers his British trial, which revolved around the slippery question of whether Boggs’ work presented a “reproduction” of currency. What a sticky wicket! The jury agreed that Boggs’ banknotes were not reproductions, but “original” works of art. If a jury was asked to determine the originality of the artist’s drawings, and the same jury was asked to determine the originality of his prints, I can imagine a different verdict.

Boggs’ prints are less acclaimed than his drawings, and rightly so. I find Boggs’ hand-drawn bills to be inherently more interesting than his prints. The above edition for the Florida United Numismatists has its charms. But the exchange of a hand-drawn dollar for a cup of coffee is a far more elegant conceptual gesture than the downloadable Boggs Fun Buck, which comes with labyrinthine instructions:

1. Download the above Boggs’ Bill.
2. Print 3 at the best quality you can.
3. Find Boggs using the picture and schedule below.
4. Co-sign each bill with Boggs

One is for you to keep and frame, or redeem for its face value.
One is for The Archives of JSG Boggs.
One is for Boggs.

It is not necessary for you to find Boggs. You may, if you wish, just sign it and frame it. However, its actual value will be entirely dependent on how good a job you do in printing it.

In a moment of precognition, Boggs once joked “Maybe I should try to buy some drugs with a drawing. You know, purely as a transaction… Nah…I’m in enough trouble already.”

For more information, here’s a comprehensive Lost At Sea article, a Times review of Boggs documentary Money Man, and a call for action regarding Boggs’ arrest.

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Categories: Artwork, Critical Discourse, Current Events, Interesting Printmaking

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