Canadians honoring Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy by “Spocking” their $5 bills need not worry much about the legal ramifications. The bank’s authorities have confirmed that, while drawing on Canadian currency isn’t an acceptable practice, it certainly isn’t illegal to do so.
Since Leonard Nimoy’s death last week, Canadians have been honoring Mr. Spock by drawing his likeness over Canada’s seventh Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s face on the country’s $5 bill. The uncanny likeness of the erstwhile Prime Minister and Star Trek Enterprise’s Spock has always encouraged hundreds of Canadians to draw on their fivers. A few simple sketches with a ball-point pen and the image of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, resembles that of Spock. Needless to say, the practice spiked exponentially with Nimoy’s passing, thanks largely to social media.
— Tara Ciprick (@BringingOrder) February 28, 2015
Sir Wilfrid now sports, on certain bills at least, pointy ears, the signature Vulcan cropped haircut and slanted eyebrows. A few of the $5 bills also contain Spock’s mantra “Live long and prosper” that is accompanied with the signature hand gesture that has fingers parted in the center.
Interestingly, defacing currency is illegal in most other parts of the world. In America, defacing the currency can land you in jail for a good six months. But in Canada, the practice is merely frowned upon, confirmed Bank of Canada spokesperson Josianne Menard,
“While drawing on the currency isn’t illegal, there are important reasons why it should not be done. Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan. Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.”
— Zach Webb (@zach_webb) March 3, 2015
What’s even more interesting is that the paper currency that is being given a face-lift, isn’t going to be in circulation for long. Canada is upgrading its currency and soon will introduce notes that are made from synthetic polymer. Needless to say, drawing on such slick notes won’t be an easy task. Hence those who are drawing Spock on their fivers may find their dollar bills gaining value instead of depreciating them.
Star Trek and Spock have offered humanity a glimpse into the future. Perhaps these five dollar bills will help us look back into the past.