via The Ultimate Counterfeiter Isn’t a Crook—He’s an Artist | Threat Level | Wired.com – a very interesting story on a German counterfeiter.
However, the irony of the last paragraph really caught my eye:
Yet later, over a slice of cake and a cigarette at the museum café, he confesses that he sometimes wakes up wanting to make just one more $100 bill. “But perfect this time. You could take it to a bank, show it to the US Secret Service, anyone—they would say it’s real. That’s what I want, you know? I can’t explain it. It’s stupid,” he says with a bemused shrug. “But it’d be my Oscar. And then I could just tear it up.”
The US Treasury and Mint are the largest counterfeiters in the world, and they pass their wares through the US Secret Service and banks throughout the world, and everyone says it’s real.
It isn’t, of course; the US currency in circulation today simply declares itself to be “money,” when “money” is constitutionally defined as gold and silver in specific weights. What we pass around today is mere tokens in remembrance of real money. The coins look almost real, unless you inspect the edge and see the brownish base metal peeking out between the outer layer of imitation silver.