I'm trying to find a short story that I read, probably in the late 90s but I'd expect the story is a lot older than that.

In the story the main character (actually a family I think) somehow come into possession of a table that has a magical property - it can copy items that are placed on it. I think it's only paper it can copy, but they use it to make perfect copies of bank notes.

The government tracks them down because the copies are perfect, so the serial numbers are always the same.

I think it's revealed at the end that the table isn't magic at all, it's the person using it that has the ability.

  • I don't remember this one, although I do remember a short story involving a man who buys two talents, of which one is the ability to "make money" which results in him doodling perfect dollar bills whenever he has a pen in hand. – FuzzyBoots Jun 17 '15 at 15:46
  • I've since found a short story involving a money tree that similarly duplicates serial numbers, but nothing involving a table yet. – FuzzyBoots Jun 17 '15 at 16:08
  • @SeanDuggan Thanks for looking. Would you mind posting the titles of the stories you found? – Eborbob Jun 17 '15 at 17:16
  • "The Money Tree" by Clifford D. Simak is the one about the money tree. eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/BrasTeap.shtml is The Brass Teapot where a couple learns that a teapot has money in it commensurate to their injuries. I don't remember the one involving the talents other than that it was in a Hitchcock anthology. Oh, and there's The Table Drawer at authorsden.com/categories/story_top.asp?id=57097&catid=39 which involves the table stealing wallets and money into its drawer. – FuzzyBoots Jun 17 '15 at 17:30
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    This sounds like Murray Leinster's "The fourth dimensional demonstrator", at least until the spoiler. It's science-based, not magic - it pulls duplicates forward from the past. The main character inherits the demonstrator, duplicates money, but gets tracked down because the serial numbers of the bills are the same. The machine isn't limited to paper, it duplicates all sorts of things (not always on purpose), and it ends with the main characters getting rid of all the counterfeits and other duplicates, and 'making do' with the results of duplicating loose change, gold, and jewelry – Megha Dec 20 '15 at 5:04

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