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Add American History to Your Collection with Military Payment Certificates

Military payment certificates are a niche category in currency collecting, which means these notes can add value to your currency collection. You can find a wide selection of MPCs to purchase on eBay, including a 5-cent military payment certificate, a 10-cent military payment certificate, and a 5-dollar military payment certificate series 641. MPCs are no longer in use, but the historical importance of these notes should not be overlooked.

Why were military payment certificates created?

The United States had a policy of paying American soldiers with Allied Military Currency. After WWII, the government started to convert AMCs into local currency to help prop up the European economy. Problems started when counterfeit AMCs began to appear on the black market. The U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of War created MPCs to prevent counterfeit abuses and to control how and where these military payments could be used.

When were military payment certificates used?

Military payment certificates were first issued a few months after the end of WWII in 1946 to the end of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973. Members of the U.S. military and authorized personnel used these certificates in 22 different countries. MPCs were first used in Europe and in the Pacific region in September of 1946.

MPCs were never used in the United States. They were only used overseas by military personnel in military facilities that were approved by the U.S. government. MPCs could be converted to the local currency, but local currency could not be converted to MPCs. This was to prevent any problems with counterfeiting.

How many series of military payment certificates were made?

15 MPC series was created, but only 13 were issued. The only series that were not issued were series 691 and series 701. MPC denominations were 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, $1, $5, $10, and $20. Five cents through the $10 denominations appear in every series. The $20 MPC was not used until series 611. The first two digits of each series indicate the year the MPC was issued, and the third digit indicates the number of series that was issued for that year. The series numbers are:

  • 461, 471, 472, and 481
  • 521, 541, 591, and 611
  • 641, 651, 661,681, and 692 (Vietnam MPC numbers)
Characteristics of military payment certificates

Every MPC denomination and series has unique design features to help reduce or prevent counterfeiting. For instance, military payment certificate 521 was the first series to use bright colors and to have the denominations printed on the reverse side of the notes. Other features on MPCs include:

  • The Great Seal of the United States on series 461, 471, 472, and 481 notes
  • Portraits of historical various figures, including Indian chiefs Hollow Horn Bear and Ouray
  • The first female portrait was featured in the series 611 large denomination notes
  • Different military branches were featured on the series 681 notes
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