It is a jigsaw that would drive even the most patient of puzzle fans to distraction.
But binman Graham Hill has been told the bundle of cut-up £10 and £20 notes he found in a Lincoln litter bin could be exchanged for new ones - if he can piece the bits together.
Lincolnshire Police launched an investigation and held the money for six months after Mr Hill, from Gainsborough, discovered it in Lincoln City Square.
But the force gave him it back when no one came forward to claim it.
Detective Constable Nick Cobb said: "Following extensive inquiries, there was no evidence that the money was stolen or linked to any criminal activity.
"This was a very unusual case and despite our inquiries the circumstances of why and how the money came to be torn up and put in the bin remains a mystery."
The value of the notes has been estimated at around £10,000 but Mr Hill faces a tough task, police said.
The currency has been chopped into small pieces and it appears no serial numbers have been left intact.
"He'll have a job making some money out of it," a force spokesman said.
A Bank of England spokeswoman said: "Providing the bank notes meet the evidence requirements, then an application for reimbursement should be successful."
Speaking shortly after he found the money, Mr Hill told the Lincolnshire Echo: "I was gutted when I looked in there and saw it all cut up."