The European Central Bank prints money (EUR) and puts it into circulation. It is therefore the first owner. Are persons who take possession of the money also owners at the same time? I am talking here about possession and ownership. Or does the ECB remain the owner?

  • 1
    Are you talking about actual, physical notes and coins or the value of debt they promises to pay?
    – user35069
    Mar 10, 2023 at 8:29
  • @Rick I mean only physical notes and coins. Thx for asking! Mar 10, 2023 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


A possessor in good faith owns currency

Currency is owned by the person who has it provided they came into possession legitimately.

Currency is a small category of goods, known as negotiable instruments, where the person who has it, owns it. Unless, they came into possession in an illegitimate way, such as by stealing it or finding it (and not handing it in to the authorities). If they received it in the course of a legitimate transaction - wages, payment for goods or services, etc. - then they own it even if the currency was previously tainted. Contrast this with, say, a car, where the legitimate owner remains the legitimate owner no matter who is in possession.

Now, there are usually laws that prohibit the destruction of currency even if you own it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you own it. For comparison, there are laws against dumping your car in the river but it’s still your car.

  • Thank you for your answer. In Germany, destroying one's money or painting money is not forbidden and is not a criminal offence. In other countries, such as the USA, it is probably a criminal offence. Mar 10, 2023 at 12:54
  • @MaikLowrey destroying or defacing money is allowed, but painting money as in making copies of mones is illegal.
    – Trish
    Mar 10, 2023 at 21:59
  • 1
    What makes a car different? Is it the fact that it has a title? Is a bicycle which doesn’t require registration of title the same? (I suppose it is but the question then is why) Mar 10, 2023 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Seekinganswers All chattels are the same
    – Dale M
    Mar 11, 2023 at 0:16
  • What about civil forfeiture? Mar 11, 2023 at 0:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .