Can an American birth certificate be redeemed for money? Why is it printed on bond paper?

  • 10
    To partially answer your second question: skeptoid.com/blog/2017/01/06/birth-certificate-bond
    – dvniel
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 10:13
  • 14
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this has nothing to do with personal finance.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 11:43
  • 22
    @trashpanda Oh my god. There seem to be such… lightly brained people in all countries. It's more or less the same kind of guys which claim that Germany is a LLC and we Germans are their personnel. Such nonsense hurts. (But, nevertheless, is interesting to read.)
    – glglgl
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 14:13
  • 22
    I'm voting to close this question for value (No levy due). The fringe on this flag invalidates the feudal jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, which is disclaimed. Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:14
  • 14
    I had not heard this theory, and when I read the title, I thought the question was going to be about selling a birth certificate to an identity theft ring.
    – shoover
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


Why is an American birth certificate on bond paper?

Because it is an important document which needs to survive for a whole human lifetime. So it gets printed on paper which is thicker and of a higher quality than usual photocopier paper. This style of paper is traditionally called "bond paper" because it was often used for bond certificates when physical financial instruments were still a thing. But just because something is printed on bond paper doesn't mean it's a bond. This kind of paper is used for many other purposes. For arts and crafts, application letters, participation certificates, greeting cards, menus in fancy restaurants, business cards, etc. You can buy that stuff on Amazon.

And the reverse isn't true either. There is no regulation which says that physical bond certificates (if they even exist at all - most bonds only exist on electronic ledgers) must be printed on specific paper to be valid.

Can you redeem it for money?

There might be some shady people who might be very interested in assuming a false identity of an US citizen. They might be very intersted in buying a valid birth certificate. But willingly selling your birth certificate and thus your identity to a potential criminal would be a move which would be both illegal and extremely stupid.

  • 15
    The birth certificate actually doesn't need to survive a whole lifetime, this is a misconception by many people. The actual birth certificate is never provided to the individual, it is filled out by the hospital and sent into the county registrar. They file it, which was historically on microfilm but now electronically, and issue you a certified copy, on bond paper with a seal. A copy is the only version you will ever get, and you can always order another for $20-30. Many people don't realize this so they hang on to their original tattered copy, when you can send away for a new one.
    – user71659
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 17:50
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    I would strongly object that it was HISTORICALLY on microfilm. Chances are that there were birth certificates BEFORE microfilm was actually invented. Which then goes back to "paper form to survive a lifetime".
    – TomTom
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:21
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    @TomTom Before the microfilm era, county records were entered into a row in a large book. A certificate was issued based on the information in the book, so fundamentally the system worked the same as our electronic records today.
    – user71659
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:28
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    Except with no proper communication people would more often get paper certificates and those would have to survive quite some time and abuse, i would assume.
    – TomTom
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:32
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    @TomTom, in the US, standardized civil birth registration and the related certificates started in 1902. Microfilm was invented in the 1850s, and saw widespread use starting in the 1920s. Yes, there was a brief period when civil birth registrations were likely to be done in ledger format, but microfilm is by far the most common pre-electronic method. (Prior to about the mid-1800s, birth records were generally managed by religious authorities, not civil ones, to the extent that anyone cared about them.)
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 21:01

You are referring to a specific conspiracy theory called the "redemption movement" involving the United States government, bankruptcy, and Jewish bankers.

Of course, there is no truth to this theory. (Thanks, @trashpanda, for the link in the comments.) Your birth certificate is not redeemable for money from either the United States government or any international bank, no matter which kind of paper it happens to be printed on.

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    I read the linked article, and if I follow the explanation there, the USA has issued bonds with their citizens as guarantee, so as a US individual you'd actually have to pay a million dollar to the "international banker" holding your bond, to get your freedom back. So not only is this total nonsense, it's actually upside down total nonsense.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 22:48
  • Is "the redemption movement" an actual conspiracy theory? Just seems like some of the more outrageous conspiracy theories are themselves hoaxes, invented for entertainment.
    – Nat
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 23:03
  • 1
    @Nat I think it's somewhere in between. I think this stuff is intentionally thought up, not to be believed, but to trip up the legal system so the inventor can get out of paying taxes. Those that they pass it on to may actually believe in it though.
    – Eric
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 18:31

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