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Military Currency

Updated on June 1, 2015

World War II Military Currency German Denomination

World War II Military Currency
World War II Military Currency | Source

Military Currency

Military currency has, in the past, been issued to troops. It serves several functions. As World War II wound down, military currency allowed troops to make purchases in occupied territories, and those civilians providing goods and service could expect the currency to be backed by the issuing entity. Another use is to help control activities on the black market. This would be the most likely use for military currency issued other than during wartime.

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World War II

As the allies controlled more territory, troops had a need to make purchases from the civilians. These people were unfamiliar with the various currencies of the armies that occupied their territory, The need to have currency that could be distributed to troops in Europe and Japan in denominations, and the languages, of the occupied and liberated territories came about.

Military currency in denominations of Italian lire, French francs, German marks, and Japanese sen had to be issued to allow a flow of commerce between the troops and the civilians. Most of these issues were of small denominations. It would be expecting too much trust to have large notes for which the people accepting them would need to make change. There was still uncertainty as to which side would prevail.

Rarer are issues from World War I, but a few such issues do exist.

These small pieces of paper are actual parts of history. They are true artifacts.


As with other currencies, condition is important. If the piece has no fold lines, has crisp corners, has no pin holes, and has no other damage, it is worth more than a damaged piece. Remember, many of these pieces have literally gone through a war, so finding one issued late during occupation and having it survive with no damage is asking a lot. Yet there are some nice pieces out there.

As for owning a type set, these pieces can be found in reasonable condition for very low prices. This is a very affordable collectible. In fact, in order to cover shipping for the seller, you might need to buy a lot of ten or more on Ebay.

Of course, error pieces would be worth a premium. So are star notes. And look at the serial number. I had a small German piece that sold for over eighty dollars because it had a dash at the beginning of the serial number. But, had it been issued by the Russians, the dash would have been common, and there would have been a much lower value assigned to it.

After Korea

After the Korean conflict the United States issued military currency in the denominations of the United States. These bills were to help control the black market. These military currency issues do not circulate well, and are expected to be redeemed. This makes redeeming large quantities without drawing suspicion very difficult.

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    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      This is something I never thought about before. Thanks.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Very interesting. I had no idea there was military currency. Makes sense. No pun intended. Thanks for all that I learned here.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't think I have ever seen one.

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      Very interesting subject. Educational!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i also have 100 usd issued in louisiana but it is not a military money. i wonder how much the value of it nowadays?

    • zspuckl lm profile image

      zspuckl lm 5 years ago

      This helps me uncovering some info on stuff I found in my grandpa's military trunk!

    • neverland8899 profile image

      neverland8899 5 years ago

      Interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I was fascinated by the information you provide here. Of course it would be difficult to find pieces in pristine condition after going through a war. You will get more folks interested in collecting after your story of that piece that sold for $80.00 because of the dash, what fun!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      I would imagine that military currency is quite valuable. What a fabulous piece of history to know. Thank you.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      I would imagine that military currency is quite valuable. What a fabulous piece of history to know. Thank you.

    • scruffymind profile image

      scruffymind 6 years ago

      Yeah me either, never really though about military currency as a collectable, great site.

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 6 years ago from Benson, IL

      Interesting; I didn't know about military currency.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for putting this out - all news to me and I enjoy learning.