Is there a reason why we never see real money used in movies or TV?

Just like I’ve always said: money is expensive.

My brother and I pay particular attention to this, as he always thought only fake money is showed on TV. Our research confirms your statement. Both fake and real bills are used in TV shows and movies.

But I’d be surprised if you knew of an example of real money used in a movie before about 1960 or so.

Sure, but wouldn’t the magician then just disappear?

Who owns the copyright to designs for the various US denominations, and would their permission be required for them to appear in a film, TV programme or commercial?

So unauthorised reproduction that wasn’t deemed to be counterfeiting (such as showing a note in an advert) could be challenged under copyright law.

Not a copyright issue; U.S. copyright law explicitly says that the federal government cannot hold copyrigthts on its own behalf. Anti-counterfeiting laws are not part of the U.S. copyright code.

That sounds a little silly.

Neither are the British laws. The rules for coins and notes (PDF).

It’s not. Works created by the United States Government are explicitly not copyrighted. Cite.

When I worked at the fundraising department of a UK charity we used to have to get authorisation from the Treasury or the Royal Mint for reproducing small images of a £10 note in fundraising materials. IIRC they couldn’t be full size, and had to overlap, and there was also some rule about showing or not showing the Queen’s head.