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History Of U.S. Currency: Military Payment Certificates (MPCs)

The U.S. Department of War issued Military Payment Certificates (MPCs) between the end of World War II and 1973. There was a need to restrict payments to U.S. military personnel in war zones to the actual military personnel. Especially in war zones, where U.S. currency was scarce and local currency was volatile, the premiums paid for U.S. currency greatly exceeded average exchange rates. 

If allowed to go on unabated, a ‘black market’ would develop for U.S. currency, and many U.S. military personnel would take advantage of these aggressive buyers. The U.S. military came up with paying soldiers’ monthly salaries in a particular scrip. 

This scrip would be exchangeable only by those to whom it was issued and only convertible on military installations. The various series published would replace the last series without prior notice. The previous issues were only redeemable by military personnel. The preceding series could become worthless after a brief period of redemption. This plan discouraged the black market from developing. 

15 series were printed in total, but the last series, 701, was the only series that was printed but has yet to be released. MPC replacement notes, like U.S. currency Star notes, are designated by the lack of a suffix in the serial number. These replacement notes are highly desirable and sought after by collectors. 

Series 461

This is the first military payment certificate series issued. These notes were used in many European countries and Asia in 1946. The notes were issued in 5, 10, 25, and 50 Cent denominations and 1-, 5-, and 10-Dollar notes. The countries were: Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Philippines, Ryukyus, Scotland, Trieste, and Yugoslavia.   

(1946 $10.00 Series 461 MPC. #262158) 

Series 471

This series was printed in 1947 and replaced Series 461. It offered 5, 10, 25, and 50-cent notes and 1,5-and 10-Dollar notes. These military payment certificates were used in the previously mentioned countries.   

(1947 $10.00 Series 461 MPC. #272593) 

Series 472

This military payment certificate series was issued in 1948 and withdrawn in 1951. It was used in the same countries as the previous series in Europe and Asia. They were issued in the same denominations previously above.  

(1948-1951 $0.05 Series 472 MPC#87788) 

Series 481

This series was issued in 1951 and withdrawn in 1954. The previously mentioned countries in Europe and Asia were the points of distribution. The denominations listed above were all re-issued in this MPC series. 

(1951-1954 $0.50 Series 481 MPC #258535) 

Series 521

This series was issued in 1954 and withdrawn in 1958. The countries of issue remained the same, along with the seven denominations. 

(1954-1958 $0.50 Series 481 MPC #54563) 

Series 541

Series 541 was issued in 1958 and withdrawn in 1961. The notes were distributed in Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Philippines, Ryukyus, and Scotland. The seven denominations remained the same.  

(1958-1961 $0.25 Series 541 MPC #251792) 

Series 591

These notes were issued in 1961 and withdrawn in 1964. The only countries of issue were: Cyprus, Iceland, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. The seven denominations remained the same. 

(1961-1964 $0.10 Series 591 MPC #87814) 

Series 611

This series was issued in 1964 and later withdrawn in 1969. The countries of issue were: Cyprus, Japan, Korea, and Libya. The denominations were unchanged.  

(1964-1969 $10.00 Series 611 REPLACEMENT NOTE MPC #272162) 

Series 641

The Series 641 MPC notes were issued in 1965 and withdrawn in 1968. They were used in Vietnam only. All seven denominations were created and used. 

(1965-1968 $1.00 Series 641 MPC #258387) 

Series 651

This series was first issued in 1969 in Japan, Korea, and Libya. It was withdrawn in Japan and Libya later that year. It was removed from Korea in 1973. All seven denominations remained unchanged. 

(1969-1973 $10.00 Series 651 MPC #251797) 

Series 661

This series was used from October 1968 until August 1969. It was only used in Vietnam. The original seven denominations are 5, 10, 25, and 50 Cents and 1-, 5-, and 10-Dollars. A new $20 note was also issued and was used only in Vietnam. 

(1968-1969 $5.00 Series 661 MPC #258386) 

Series 681

Series 681 was issued in August 1969 and withdrawn in October 1970. It was only issued in Vietnam. All eight denominations were issued. 

(1969-1970 $20.00 Series 681 MPC #273232) 

Series 691

Series 691 was intended to be released in Vietnam but was never issued. The government printed $1, $5, $10, and $20 notes but never released them.  

Series 692

This series was issued in October of 1970. The fractional coin denominations were withdrawn in June of 1971, and the Dollar Denominations were withdrawn in March of 1973. All eight denominations were issued.  

(1970-1973 $20.00 Series 691 MPC #89715) 

Series 701

This final MPC series of MPCs saw $1, $5, $10, and $20 notes printed but never released. This was the last series of MPC notes that were authorized.  

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