Currency Doctor
Roscoe Ferguson, Mutilated Currency Lab, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Department of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.
By Interview by Eugenia Levenson

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I WAS A MOTORCYCLE POLICE OFFICER FOR NINE YEARS in D.C. until I was hit by a car and I retired. I was damaged, and now I'm dealing with damaged currency. It comes from all over--individuals, financial institutions, stores, law enforcement. We see a great deal of money that was buried in the yard long ago, and the family has now found it. Don't forget, years ago people hid their money; they didn't use banks. Maggots, gnats--insects of all types come here with the currency. We just ask people to please rinse it off a little bit. It has to be clean, and we'll take it from there. Some notes are so badly burned that they can take several weeks to separate. It's like surgery--and you have to know your currency notes thoroughly. After we determine that it's genuine currency, our first step is to see how much they have. Most of the time, they have much more than they think. When currency comes in here fused together, it may look like two or three notes to you, but we'll find 50 or 100 notes. After Hurricane Katrina, we have a lot of water-damaged currency. Nobody else will touch it but us.