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What are North African Notes? 

North African Notes were a series of temporary silver certificates issued during the North African campaign in World War II. Between 1942 and 1944, they were issued in $1, $5, and $10 denominations from Series 1934, Series 1934-A, and 1935-A.  

Why Were North African Notes Issued? 

During World War II, the Allied forces began an initiative against Axis forces in North Africa called Operation Torch. Operation Torch began on November 8, 1942, and under the rule of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied troops gained control of areas under Axis domination. It provided Allied forces with a base to launch into Southern Europe.  

U.S. soldiers involved in Operation Torch were paid in silver certificates, and there was a concern that if German forces regained control of the region, they would take control of the payroll. The solution for this potential dilemma was a distinct series of notes that were easily distinguishable from other notes.  

Accordingly, the notes issued to pay U.S. troops had a unique yellow seal. Other contemporary silver certificates issued featured blue seals, and the North African Notes were the only silver certificates with yellow seals. Paying the soldiers with these unique notes ensured that the notes could be repudiated and make any captured money worthless to enemy forces.  

Collecting North African Notes 

Assembling a circulated collection of North African Notes is feasible, although the 1934 Series $10 note may prove to be elusive and carry a high premium if you can find one. There are only a few known Series 1934 $10 Star Notes, and one has sold for close to $30,000. 

Notes like these can be slightly confusing as they differ from issues like Hawaii Notes and the table below may help. It is worth keeping in mind that, unlike coins, the series date and issue date of currency are often different. 

List of North African Note Issues 

Series Denomination Friedburg Number 
1935-A $1 Fr#2306 
1934-A $5 Fr#2307 
1934 $10 Fr#2308 
1934-A $10 Fr#2309 

Were North African Notes a Form of Military Payment Certificates? 

North African Notes were not a form of Military Payment Certificate (MPC), which was issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from 1946 through 1973. North African Notes were issued from 1942 through 1944 and were later replaced by Military Payment Certificates

Difference Between Hawaii and North Africa Notes 

Both Hawaii Notes and North African Notes were issued as cautionary measures, but their appearance and distribution were slightly different. 

Designs and Colors 

Contemporary Silver Certificates were stamped with a blue seal and Federal Reserve Notes with a green seal. This made identifying the yellow stamped seal on the North Africa Notes and brown seal on the Hawaii Notes simple.  

The designs of the Hawaii Notes and North African Notes were like those of other contemporary issues, with several notable differences on the Hawaii Notes. The name HAWAII was vertically printed in small lettering on either side of the obverse and stamped on the reverse in large, empty block lettering. 

Distribution 

North African Notes were issued strictly as payment for military personnel, but Hawaii Notes were issued to the public in the state of Hawaii. They were issued following the attack on Pearl Harbor, amid concerns of a subsequent Japanese ground invasion. This risk left open the possibility of Japanese forces gaining control of a substantial amount of U.S. banknotes, whereas North African Notes were issued strictly for payroll. 

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