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               Richard J. Reed                
World Paper Money


...featuring notes from the Ellis Props & Graphics Auction - June, 2000 and "The Propman's Collection" (2010)

Early in 2001, we were fortunate to acquire a real interesting group of Hollywood movie money, also known as stage money or stage notes. These are facsimiles or total fantasies made to appear as currency in the movies and television. I believe there was a law on the books prohibiting the depiction of actual United States paper money in films at one time. This law, plus the difficulty of controlling a large quantity of real money on the set, required the use of stage notes. It is also likely that defunct genuine currencies such as old Confederate and Mexican revolution money were used in the early days of Hollywood for this purpose. The story goes that there just wasn’t enough to handle all of Tinseltown’s needs after a while, so the fake prop notes were made up.

The notes we acquired came from Ellis Props & Graphics Partners, which closed recently after being in business since 1908. Over the past century, props provided by Ellis have been used in many famous movies and well-known TV shows such as Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Wild, Wild West. In early June, 2000, the company’s prop holdings were auctioned off at the Universal Hilton and on the Internet. We acquired our notes from a gentleman who purchased many, if not all, of the prop notes.

We have a vast assortment of all different types of movie prop notes representing banknotes from Mexico, the United States, the Confederacy, France, England, Egypt, Cuba, Italy, and Vietnam, among other locales! Some of the stage notes are direct copies of genuine bills. Others are altered to say "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" or might have subtle alterations, or are total fabrications. Obviously the U. S. bills are not faithful reproductions due to the anti-counterfeiting laws! Most of the notes are in nice condition; however, some were obviously used or stored carelessly and have some folds, crinkles, tears, dirt, etc. just like a real note that circulates. The variety of different items found and the entertainment they provide to paper money collectors make them a popular adjunct to the hobby. Also, imagine what great actor/actress may have held your note in a scene somewhere!

More recently, we acquired another major holding we call "the Propman's Collection" that came from an estate of a gentleman who worked in the props dept. of a major Hollywood studio.  Several new types were identified in this group, which also contained a treasure of genuine Mexican bills used as prop notes (some were even hand-altered to be props)!

This page is your gateway to the realm of Hollywood motion picture prop notes.  So move your mouse and boldly click on the link to the ongoing work that we call:

The Catalog of the Ellis Props Worldwide Hollywood Movie Money Accumulation & Other Prop Bills

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