Where's George, the Bill, Today?
Tracking bills throughout the country. One piece of currency was recently reported in Northborough.
Dennis Bergeron disovered his first Where's George bill at the Woburn Post Office on April 3 in 2003 when the clerk behind the counter handed over his change. She pointed out that it was a "Where's George" bill, and he could check out where it has been online.
After that, he was hooked. Hooked on tracking other bills and fascinating with their travel around the country.
Bergeron uses the Web site wheresgeorge.com to track the bills. The site works by users who log in various currency, and then mark them with an address before spending. "The hope is that, as the bills make their rounds, people will go to the Web site and record where they came across them," wrote The Wall Street Jounral. Those who registered the bills, and anyone who records a find, are notified by email of each new entry, and can see the entire trail by visiting the site."
He grew up in Waltham and now lives in Burlington, MA, but Patch was curious about his bill tracking hobby when one of his marked bills was Tweeted as passing through Northborough recently.
Bergeron has tracked bills for nearly 10 years, and has entered 23,447 individual bills varying from $1 up to $100. Of those, 1,835 have been '"hit" (meaning entered by another user) and 220 of them have been entered more than once.
"I have found 68 'wilds,'" said Bergeron, "which are bills that someone else has entered into the database and either stamped or written the website on. My bills have been entered in 47 states, the only hold outs are Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota. They have also been entered in 12 other countries."
Once logged into wheresgeorge.com, there are pulldown menus available to select the denomination of the bill, the series number, the serial number and the zip code from the location of the bill.
"You can also leave a message, usually stating where you found the bill or what condition it is in," said Bergeron. "From there you can do one of three things, 1. Stamp the bill with a premade stamp, most users buy them from www.stamp-connection.com, 2. write the website on the bill with a pen or pencil, or 3. leave it blank also known as a 'Stealth' bill. The mantra of Where's George is 'EMS' for Enter, Mark, and Spend. Once you spend it you hope someone sees the stamp and is curious enough to goto the site and reenter the bill."
The appeal for Bergeron, as it is for many who track bills for a hobby, is to marvel at how far some have traveled.
"Some bills get hits within the first week of me spending them," he said, "and some take 2-5 years, and other just don't get reentered."