Military Payment Certificates Now Attributed by Schwan Numbers

Posted on 10/1/2008

Paper Money Guaranty began using Schwan Numbers for Military Payment Certificates on October 1, 2008. The numbers are from Fred Schwan’s recent fourth edition of his book Comprehensive Catalog of Military Payment Certificates. The PMG population report will also be updated to Schwan numbers, incorporating all the varieties of Military Payment Certificates available to collectors.

Military Payment Certificates (MPCs) are now considered an extension of the paper money issued by the United States. They feature attractive designs and vignettes, and bright colors that appeal to collectors decades after their issue. That they were used by soldiers in exotic places only adds to the joy in collecting them.

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MPCs were issued in 13 series starting in September 1946 and were completely withdrawn in November 1973. They were issued to pay American troops serving overseas as an attempt to eliminate US dollars from local economies. Regular design changes helped control the black market and prevented MPCs from replacing local currencies. Series were exchanged one for another without notice, rendering the replaced series worthless. Soldiers often failed to convert some of their notes, leaving examples for collectors.

Fred Schwan comments, “It is an important and logical step to attribute MPCs by variety when grading and encapsulating. Since the various printings were first documented in 2002, collectors have been finding them in auctions, bourses, and in unexpected places around the country. The effect that the population reports will have on our understanding of the rarity of these notes will be of long term importance.”

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To submit MPCs for PMG certification, the regular submission form should be used and the appropriate tier selected according to the note’s value. PMG-certified MPCs are also immediately eligible for inclusion in the Signature Sets section of the PMG Registry.

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