American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



Funny Money: The Fight of the US Secret Service Against Counterfeit Money

Jim the Penman

A more unusual representative of the counterfeiting profession was German-born Emmanuel Ninger, aka “Jim the Penman.” Arrested in 1896, he painted notes with a pen and brush (see his arrest record). They were so well executed that he was able to pass them easily, and only when the ink began to dissolve on one of his notes were the counterfeits detected. To this day, there is a history of artists using money as media, which at times can become a contentious issue with law enforcement agents.


Courtesy of the US Secret Service