To create the illusion of massive wads of cash, TV and film producers
don't take real $100 bills and put them on the front and back of a
stack of $1 bills (or even just pieces of paper cut to size) but
instead use fake bills.
This is also seen any time where the character shows a bunch of bills.
Rather than going to the bank and getting, say $5,000 in real money,
letting the actor use it for the scene and then putting it back in the
bank, they use Stage Money.
There's actually a cottage industry that makes fake money to be used
in films, that looks just enough like the real thing that a casual
viewing doesn't reveal that they're fake... for one example, take a
look here. Users of Poser software can freely download U.S. money
props, including various coins and four different currency styles. The
20th century bill props are not intended to imitate genuine currency.
It isn't legal for print media to use real money, to the point that
boxers with accurately sized money on it were once seized. So the
magazine ad would show part of a hundred dollar bill, but not all of
it. Because the law says that only the government can print money.
There is no law against showing it on TV or in the movies, since you
can't cut out the bills and use them.
In Britain, if a TV game show has a prize draw with cash prizes and
illustrates them, the £10, £20 or £50 notes will be shown in full but
with something like "SPECIMEN" superimposed. In some other parts of
the world, bank notes illustrated in print media (such as ads) often
also have that SPECIMEN marking.
- Doctor Who had some specially commissioned notes made with portraits
of David Tennant and (producer) Phil Collinson on them for The
Christmas Invasion. This was for legal reasons, though, and now these
props go for a pretty penny on eBay.
- The reason Doctor Who used fake notes may have been not so much that they weren't allowed to use real currency, but that the
scene involved a cash machine malfunctioning and shooting banknotes
across the street. There'd be too much risk of the notes becoming
damaged or getting pocketed by the extras who scrabble across the
street collecting the notes. It's not an offence to show currency on
British TV, but it is an offence to damage or destroy it.
- Notably averted in Art Attack, where Neil Buchanan made a vast portrait of the queen out of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of
real £10 notes, which the Bank of England lent him.
- Harry Enfield's early character Loadsamoney's "wad" used the first method described above, being two real £10 notes with lots of
appropriately cut newspaper in between.
- Real Life example: During the Victorian era, forging a banknote carried a hefty sentence, but making something that looked a bit like
a banknote didn't. So forgers would create notes that read "Bank of
Engraving" instead of "Bank of England", and could try to pass these
off as real currency.
- The setting of the 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was designed to look like America to Britons and like Britain
to Americans, made use of "guinea" notes that didn't look quite like
either a $10 bill or a £10 note.
- To someone who goes to Chinatown often enough, it's obvious when someone is using Chinese Hell dollars as stand-ins for American
dollars, but otherwise the designs are quite similar. They were used
like that in an episode of the Australian series Pizza.
- The Stephen Sondheim musical Road Show involved piles of cash being literally thrown into the air until they carpeted the stage, so
that audience members in the front few rows were able to catch loose
bills. Needless to say, it wasn't real money.
- In Making Money, the Ankh-Morpork Times broke the story of Moist von Lipwig's new invention, paper currency, by averting this trope.
- They printed true-to-scale images of the front and back of a bank
note, which (as Vetinari observes) surely sent most of the city
scrambling for scissors and glue.
- A related trick in real life: the "carnie roll", a roll of what appears to be high-denomination bills. The first and last ones are
high-denomination bills, though all of the ones in-between are $1
- One short from The Three Stooges has them needing to get the ransom for a starlet. They resort to some bills found in a room
marked 'Property'. It didn't say whose property, of course. Guess
what the roll was identified by the crooks as...
- On the NBC game show Scrabble, players could earn bonus cash by placing letters in colored squares on the gameboard and then
immediately guessing the word in play. Host Chuck Woolery would then
pay out the bonus in pink or blue "Chuck Bucks," fake bills printed
with his picture.
(Source: TV Tropes)