Handbound notebook with dollar bill covers


Kate Black made this notebook. She has just one for sale on Etsy for $24. It's called "The Dollar's In The Shitter.

The US Dollar is worth so little now, it's cheaper to bind books with banknotes than art papers.

This book is made with two 1 dollar bills, actual US currency.

The interior covers and spine reinforcements are emerald green batiked paper.

The textblock is made from 60lb, bright white drawing paper. The paper has a good amount of tooth and can handle ink, pencil and many other media.

- 5.5" x 2.125" (14 cm x 5.5 cm)
- 140 pages.
- Bound with forest green waxed Irish linen thread.

This book opens completely flat, for ease of use.

Link (Thanks, Jenny!)


  1. Not sure I’d do that:

    Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

  2. Woz gets whole uncut sheets of 2 dollar bills and has them made into perforated coupon like books that he uses for tip monies.

    very cool.

  3. #4

    I think it’s mostly about deliberately mangling banknotes, then spending them or taking them in to a bank, so the bank has to withdraw them from circulation and send them in to get new notes printed. This increases printing costs, so it’s a nuisance crime, basically.

    This book isn’t doing that – there’s clearly no intent to make a bank send these banknotes in as unfit to recirculate. But it’s probably still technically against the law quoted in #2…

  4. i got curious, so i checked w/ lexis & westlaw. the actual cite is 18 U.S.C 333.

    only case that ever seems to have actually been litigated on this point offers up some reasoning- specifically that a bank note is basically a wee little contract, so when the note is altered the modification could be seen as an attempt to modify the terms… or something.

    maybe someone w/ a better knowledge of property/finance can validate a different idea- maybe the deal is that when you hold a dollar bill, you own the dollar in an abstract sense, but the treasury still owns the physical paper? i could be way off on that one.

  5. I do not think the government is going to prosecute many of these cases for the simple reason that they want to see money *taken out* of circulation. Where they will prosecute is where there is a crime somehow involved, or where it costs the government money. One example being people melting down coinage for the scrap metal market. But I doubt that the Feds are going to go after people making crafts. Just my personal opinion. I do not represent the Feds.

    Also, while the dollar has lost value, and we do have a questionably competent administration in place, one should not forget that we do still have a large economy. So much so, that when the US sneezes, all the other markets seem to catch cold.

    That being said, we as americans need to get a handle on many of our fiscal policies, government, corporate, and personal. Again, just another personal opinion.

  6. The notebooks are sold out (drat it all) but you can still make a wallet out of dollar bills. All still spendable with no risk of prison.

  7. While in Brazil I decorated my guitar case with currency. The money had a half life of about a month so a bill that would buy a week’s groceries in January would be small change by June. I managed to cover quite a bit of the back of the case and wrap all the way around the side without using the same bill more than twice.

    While there I also found a sidewalk that was pretty solidly covered in old coins pressed into the cement.

  8. Wow, economic commentary from an artist. Alan Greenspan thinks your art is overly literal and uncreative.

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