In most countries it is illegal to destroy money, more precisely, their own currency. But what about foreign currency? Can I tear a dollar in the UK? Would it be against American or English law?

I should mention that I know that it is not illegal to destroy money in every country, my question is about countries where it is, like US and UK.


In France :

Besides a 1810 old law prohibiting the destruction of money (Code Pénal, Article Ancien 439), this law was abrogated on the 1st of March, 1994. This can be supplied by a case in the 4th of June, 1975 : destructing a bank note isn't considered as "destructing money" as such as destructing coins, which is prohibited, since "bank notes simply are monetary signs who aren't currently operating obligations (translation)".

  • Thanks, I should have mentioned that I know this is the case in some countries (like in mine, Hungary), my question is about other countries (see my updated question).
    – domotorp
    Jan 27 '17 at 11:23
  • I've just realized that this might be related to my question after all, since France is in the Eurozone. Is destroying Eurobills legal everywhere?
    – domotorp
    Jan 27 '17 at 11:27
  • 2
    It seems to be legal in Spain. In fact, AFAIK, governments should be very ok with you destroying notes: If you have 1000 € it means you have ways to remove from the market 1000 € of goods and services; if you destroy the 1000 € there is less money but the amount of goods remains the same (less inflation) at your expense. The only exception would be when money is produced at a loss (lower denomination coins).
    – SJuan76
    Jan 27 '17 at 12:49
  • 1
    @SJuan76 : Whether the government (or rather, central bank) is OK or not with destroying money rather depends on what they currently see the biggest threat is. If it is inflation, then true; however, at the moment, they are rather more worried about depression - which is why they are creating money out of nothing; you destroying money will be going the wrong way. Jan 27 '17 at 12:53

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