Paper Money

J.S.G. Boggs artwork now offered as part of NFT project

Among the NFTs offered by laCollection are Boggs creations of a $5,000 Federal Reserve note with his portrait.

Images courtesy of laCollection.

His estate’s website calls J.S.G. Boggs an “American artist whose playfully realistic drawings of banknotes catapulted him to worldwide fame — and landed him in jail more than once.”

It also says he is widely regarded as the “Patron Saint of Cryptocurrency.” This is because Boggs advised the creators of an “encrypted on-line currency,” thus prompting many to consider him as a philosophical forefather of Bitcoin.

Boggs questioned a government’s right to have a monopoly on the issuance of currency. He claimed his own artistic currencies which, like government issues, “contained portraiture, unique numerical markings and anti-counterfeiting measures — be allowed to serve as tender for goods and services, so long as they were deemed valuable by the recipient.” He said in 1999, “It’s all an act of faith. Nobody knows what a dollar is, what the word means, what holds the thing up, what it stands in for.”

Now, five years after the artist’s death in January 2017, the estate of J.S.G. Boggs and laCollection has launched the first NFT (nonfungible token) project to continue his legacy of experimenting with the fundamental value of money.

The two entities are announcing “J.S.G. Boggs: Money Talks” an exhibition and sale that consists of five limited digital editions of bank notes based on his original artworks of European and United States currency.

It will start with 50 editions of a British £50 note from 1990 similar to those that were shown in the London exhibition that led to Boggs’ arrest and subsequent acquittal for forgery. The note features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as a young woman. Boggs first made the model for this note, hand-drawn on paper in color pencil in 1990. The jury at his trial quickly and unanimously acquitted Boggs on all charges after his lawyer argued that “only a moron in hurry” would take his art for real bank notes. It was after this that the Bank of England began putting copyright notices on its paper currency.

The sale began on Oct. 17. One new digital bank note is to be added to the sale each week. The £50 note will be followed by a French 100-franc note of 1989, a Swiss 100-franc note from 1988, a 2002 €1 note with a self-portrait of Boggs, and from 2001, a $5,000 Federal Reserve note also with self-portrait.

The Boggs estate website is Orders can be placed at

Buyers of one artwork receive the digital artwork (NFT), the bank note printed and sent by The Archives of J.S.G. Boggs, and a unique printed J.S.G. Boggs Crypto Receipt. The receipt honors the pivotal role transactions played in the artist’s process.

Purchasers of two or more artworks also gain access to a private conversation with Estate Curator and close friend of the artist, Craig Whitford, and Estate Advisor and NFT aficionado, Jeff Koyen, as well as an online private tour of the J.S.G. Boggs Estate’s archives.

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