Military Payment Certificates, or MPC, were used from the end of World War II until the end of the Vietnam War, between the years 1946 and 1973. MPC's utilized layers of line lithography to create colorful banknotes that could be produced cheaply. more...
Fifteen series of MPC's were created but only 13 series were issued.
History of MPC
Military Payment Certificates (MPC) evolved from Allied Military Currency as a response to the large amounts of US Dollars circulating in post-WWII Europe due to American servicemen. The local citizens did not trust local currencies as the fate of their governments was unclear. Therefore preferring a stable currency, dollars, they often accepted payment in dollars for less than the accepted conversion rates. Obviously dollars became more favorable, inflating the local currencies and thwarting plans to stabilize the economies. Contributing to this problem was the fact that though troops were being paid in the local currency they could convert an unlimited amount to dollars at the government set conversion rate, which was much more favorable to the GIs than the market rate. From this a black market developed where the servicemen could utilize the favorable exchange rate.
To combat this the US military devised the MPC program. MPC's were paper money denominated in US Dollars in amounts of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, and starting in 1968 20 dollars. MPC's were fully convertible to US dollars upon leaving combat (or more specifically a designated MPC zone) and convertible to local currencies (but not vice-versa), and were illegal for unauthorized personnel to possess, thus, in theory, eliminating US dollars from local economies. Although actual greenbacks were not circulating, many local merchants accepted MPC on par with US dollars, as they knew they could use them on the black market. This was especially evident during the Vietnam War when the MPC program was at its height. There was however a provision meant to combat this. Many veterans can recount conversion days, when one series of MPC was made invalid and replaced by another, where locals (who were not authorized to convert) would be desperately trying to change their MPC as it soon be worthless.
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