The term “origami” derives from the Japanese language for the art of paper folding. The term is generally intended to reflect sequential, purposeful folds yielding an expressive, erotic, or artistic outcome. Fascinating designs have been created with United States paper money carefully and specifically folded.
Other websites show erotic--what perhaps some might consider downright pornographic--images created by folding both large size (pre-1923)and modern or small size currency.
Although, in the purest form, “origami” denotes an intentional process, the same term has been applied to bizarre, accidental folds affecting paper money. In the technical sense, most of the error notes casually considered as origami, belong to the classifications of printed folds or cutting errors.
The $100 series of 1985 Federal Reserve fragment illustrated might be categorized as origami by some. Certainly a weird pleat exists. There is small portion of the adjacent note from the uncut sheet visible at the bottom. Further, there is no green Treasury seal overlying the numerals “100” attesting to the authenticity of the piece. While some might consider such a happenstance to be a worthless piece of scrap, knowledgeable collectors recognize the unique nature of the item...and its incredible eye-appeal, when viewed from any possible perspective.
The note is from the inventory of Frederick J. Bart, paper money specialist and author of United States Paper Money Errors: A Comprehensive Catalog & Price Guide (Krause Publications, 2nd edition, 2003). He commented “In the entire spectrum of U.S. currency, few examples can even attempt to rival the dramatic nature of this magnificent example. The fact that it occurs on the highest circulating denomination provides another attraction.”
Fred Bart can be contacted at: PO Box 2, Roseville, MI, 48066. Or via telephone or email at (586) 979-3400 or BartIncCor@aol.com, respectively.