Euro: yours or the ECB’s
By sebastian siechold on February 3, 2012
When you are working with money as an artist or you are interested in the concept of money itself, this question is one of the most important and controversial. To come straight to the point: Is it forbidden to destroy money?
I asked the German Federal Bank in place of all countries using the Euro as currency precisely this question and they told me:
(Letter translated into english)
Your enquiry from 19. October
Dear Mr. Siechold,
Thanks for your enquiry.
According to the general civil regulations everybody can gain the ownership of banknotes.
That means, the banknotes are not the property of the central bank or “government property”, but they belong to the one that they were assigned to.
Basically the owner can deal with his belongings (also banknotes) in the boundaries of the legal order as desired.
From the juridical point of view the owner of a banknote would inherently remain free to harm or destroy the banknote.
Nevertheless we do not compensate vandalized banknotes. The one who damaged the banknote therefore bears the risk, that a by himself vandalized banknote will not be accepted in payment transactions by third parties and therefore the banknote de facto becomes worthless.
German Federal Bank