Paper Money

Movie prop money being passed in circulation

Someone was attempting to use cinematic prop money as the real thing in Independence, Mo., until a pizza shop manager got wise to the identity of the note being passed.

Image from Independence (Mo.) Police Department.

Sometimes you just have to use your eyes and forget about the magic pens, security strips, watermarks, and fancy inks. That was the message in a segment aired by WDAF TV in Kansas City on Oct. 31.

Several businesses in nearby Independence, Mo., reported receiving counterfeit $100 bills. A manager at a pizza shop said that he used a detector pen to verify a suspicion that he based initially on the feel of the paper. 

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Then he decided to look at the note more closely. Printed on bold capital letters on both sides of the note were the words FOR CINEMATIC USE ONLY and FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY. It was cinema prop money.

When he told the customer that he would need to confiscate the bill and call the police, the man said “Oh, really?” and turned around and walked out. At least three other businesses in the area, including a gas station and a convenience store, told of similar experiences.

Numerous offers of prop money for sale can be found online, including from dedicated websites to, where 100 double-sided $100 prop money bills are offered for $25 with free shipping.

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