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US Military Payment Certificates (MPCs)

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US Military Payment Certificates

It was 1946 and World War II was over. The Cold War hadn't really cranked up yet and The Allied Forces were occupying territories that have been recovered from the Axis powers as well as the German and Japanese homelands. Allied troops and civilian workers by the thousands took part in the reconstruction of these areas.

Originally these workers were paid in local currencies that were later redeemed by the Redevelopment Forces. Significantly more money was being redeemed than had been payed out. This created a serious financial drain for the US and other Allies. At the same time this redemption process was fueling the Black Market economy in the occupied areas. The US moved to resolve this crisis by issuing special money to both the military and civilian workforces. Military Payment Certificates (MPCs) became the only "legal" form of payment at US installations in these areas.

To minimize illegal activity "C" days were created. C days were short periods of time during which the current series of MPCs could be converted to the new series. From that day forward only the newly issued series would be valid for trade. C days were usually announced only a short time before they took place (many times 24 hours) and usually lasted only a single day. Withdrawn series immediately became worthless thus cutting off the Blackmarketeers and Profiteers. This process continued until the end of the Viet Nam War.

A total of 21 series of MPCs were issued. Two additional series, 691 and 701, were created but have never been issued. MPCs were printed by lithography rather than the intaglio process used for US currency. Planchette paper, paper with small colored disks embedded, was used as a security mechanism on the MPC notes. Series from 611 onward were printed by The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). Prior series were printed by Forbes Lithograph, Stecher-Traung, or Tudor Press. The Series number indicates the year the series was created and the number of the series for that year. For example 692 was created in 1969 and it was the second series that year. 691 being the first. Series were not necessarily issued in the year they were created. Most series contained denominations of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 5 dollars and 10 dollars. A few of the later series also include 20 dollar notes. Just as star-notes are issued for regular US currency to replace errors trapped during the printing process, replacement notes were created for MPCSs. Instead of the star designation MPC replacement notes can be identified by the missing suffix letter in the serial number. For example a replacement note for A02552097A would have the serial number A02552097. Some of the notes, especially the replacement notes, are quite rare.

Threads have been created for each series. There you will find details such as issue and withdrawal dates, quantities, and designs. Take a look. Maybe MPCs are the very thing that's missing from your current collecting activities.


1. Comprehensive Catalog of Military Payment Certificates by Fred Schwan, BNR Press 1997

2. Comprehensive Catalog of U.S. Paper Money by Gene Hessler, 6th Edition, BNR Press 1997

3. Paper Money World: US Military Payment Certificates website. http://www.papermoneyworld.net/usmpc/index.html


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