JSG Boggs drew his very first bill in 1984 while sitting in a Chicago bar. The artist was doodling on a napkin, and the waitress liked his drawing and asked if he would pay his 90-cent bill with it instead of real money, and the "Boggs Notes" were born.
That was the start of JSG Bogg’s weird tale of "economic" art and later on, legal troubles. Boggs began "spending" his very own bills for face value - he would draw an elaborate note denominated $10 in exchange for $10 worth of goods.
Soon after, no doubt in part because of the high quality of illustrations, Boggs notes became very collectible - however, Boggs refused to sell his notes directly to collectors. He preferred to exchange his money for goods, at restaurants, bars and shops, and then tell the collectors where to hunt for the Bogg notes. In a way, Boggs likened his economic transaction as a performance art.
Boggs made his own versions of US as well as other countries’ banknotes - although instantly recognizable as "funny money" (one of his most famous notes was created for the Florida United Numismatist convention shown above, complete with "IN FUN WE TRUST"), Boggs were repeatedly arrested for counterfeiting in the USA and abroad.
The US Secret Service raided Boggs’ exhibit and home, and confiscated most of his artwork. Although to this day he was never charged with counterfeiting, the Secret Service refused to return his work.
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