Image of Votes for Women on a British Penny

Artist unknown. Bronze penny, 1897, stamped 'VOTES FOR WOMEN', 1913 or 1914. Presented by Art Fund. ©️ The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest

November 11, 2023 – May 20, 2024

Located on level 1 in gallery 141 and 142.

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Indigenous Peoples. Learn more.


Dollar bills and coins, with their idealized portraits of leaders, emblems of national identity and heavily policed production, are an extension of state authority in hand-held form. For more than two centuries, artists and individuals alike have taken out their discontent with governments on that money – punching it, scratching it, overprinting and even digitally manipulating it.

In this inventive exhibition, historical examples of defaced coins and banknotes are exhibited alongside contemporary art works. From laboriously scratched pennies to re-imagined dollar bills, Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest tells the stories behind the damage, from the French Revolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest is organized by the AGO in collaboration with the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, U.K

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