While rummaging through some of my father’s personal effects a year after his death, I came upon some interesting currency from his old Army days. What I found were some 5¢ and 10¢ Military Payment Certificates (MPC) he received while serving with the 169 2nd Engineer Battalion in Masiwa, Japan from 1945-1947.
To better understand how this certificate was used by my father, I turned to MPC collector/expert, Brad and his website at C-Day.com. What I learned was after Wold War II, the United States government stopped paying soldiers who were stationed overseas with US currency for fear it would fall in to enemy hands which could be used against us. Instead, they were paid with specially designed certificates that had the full value of US money, but could only be used on military bases, ships, and other similar places. These certificates could be converted to the local currency by troops, but they could not be reconverted back into US currency.
My dad must have converted his pay while in Japan because I also found a 1946 Japan 10 Yen (see below) he brought back with him after his tour ended there in 1947.
There were thirteen series of Military Payment Certificates issued to soldiers between 1946-1973. The first series — 461 — is the series that was issued to my father. The denominations printed were 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5, $10 and $20 varieties. As I browsed the Internet to learn more about the MPC I have tucked away safely, it seems that Military Numismatics is a popular hobby, and for some, a lucrative one. So if you have some MPCs from love ones in your family tree, share the series and denominations you have below!