American artist James Stephen George Boggs, better known as J.S.G.
Boggs, works at the intersection of art, illusion and commerce. He is
best known for his hand-drawn exact replicas of paper currency, called
“Boggs bills,” that he draws and uses as part of an exchange.
For example, Boggs may draw a $10 bill and then use that artwork to
purchase a piece of pie and coffee at a restaurant. The work of art is
larger than the individual note, encompassing the receipts, the goods
he purchased and any change that was received. Documentation of the
entire transaction, including the Boggs bill, constitutes the work of art.
On Nov. 30 in Okemos, Mich., Numismatic Auctions LLC’s Winter
Wonderland Auction Sale 58 will feature a unique Boggs work titled
October Rent ($500) from 1991.
The framed piece includes a $500 “Boggs bill” with a portrait of
William McKinley, though named Willie on the note, consistent with the
artist’s practice of changing certain details or wording. Also
included is the change — a genuine contemporary $50 Federal Reserve
note — along with the original receipt signed by the landlord, a brass
numeral “5” of the type found on an apartment door, the store package
for the numeral, a bottle cap, Lipton tea wrapper, real estate
business card, and a portion of the October calendar for that year.
The drawn bill is signed by the artist, and the entire piece including
its various components carries an estimate of $7,500 to $15,000.
Boggs’ works are in the collections of major museums worldwide
including the Art Institute of Chicago, New York’s Museum of Modern
Art, and the British Museum in London. While Boggs has gotten into
trouble with the law in the United Kingdom and the United States,
Boggs maintains that his transactions are a type of performance art
and that he is not a counterfeiter.
Steven Davis cataloged the piece, writing, “This is a wonderful and
early ‘Complete Transaction’ performed by the artist,” adding,
“Complete Boggs transactions are difficult to come by, let alone one
featuring a $500 Boggs bill.” For more information, contact the firm
online at http://www.numismaticauctionsllc.com/ or by phone at (517)