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MPC - Military Payment Certificates - Funny Money

also, see below for Vietnamese money

  • Australian soldiers first met American MPC in Korea. 
    • Later in Viet Nam it became a household word. 
      • Here is what it looks like and below are details from some experts.

Military Payment Certificate, commonly known as MPC, was a substitute for American money paid to American military personnel serving in foreign countries.  MPC, of course, was used to keep American dollars off the Black Market.

Military Payment Certificates were issued in an effort to prevent and combat black market activities and to stop a continued drain of worthless occupation money printed by the Russians being converted to US dollars in occupied areas immediately after World War II. Any amount of MPC could be converted to the local currency, but once converted, it could not be reconverted, effectively insulating the US dollar. Issued to service personnel and some types of civilians, they were used much like regular money, except they could not be used as a form of payment to entities outside the influence of the U.S. government without special permission. They could be used on bases, ships, canteens, and other similar places but could not be used to buy local goods or services without special permission and only by those authorized to accept MPC.

Although security measures were in place, MPC would eventually find its way into the local economy by fraud, theft, or other means. When officials felt that substantial quantities of MPC were embedded into the local economy, or that the current series of MPC was in some other way being compromised, another series would be released to replace and devalue the current one. 

Only those personnel authorized to have MPC when C-Day, or Conversion Day, rolled around, had the chance to convert their soon to be worthless MPC to the newly issued MPC and retain their value.

 Once converted, the old MPC was destroyed - usually by burning. The black marketers, pushers, and other non-authorized individuals were now stuck with worthless paper thus effectively disarming them from their underground activities. 

The following information comes from Larry A. Summers:
"In case you did not know: They would change MPC to discourage Black Market trading by the Japanese Nationals. Some GIs would spend MPC off base. The change was supposed to be a surprise except they would tell us GIs that we had so many days to turn in our old for new. The "smart" GIs would go off base and purchase old MPC from the locals at a discount. Some made some bucks doing this!"

Issue Dates for Various MPC

Series 481 - 6/20/51 thru 5/25/54
Series 521 - 5/25/54 thru 5/27/58
Series 541 - 5/27/58 thru 5/26/61
Series 591 - 5/26/61 thru 1/6/64
Series 611 - 1/06/64 thru 4/28/69

Series 641 - 8/31/65 thru 10/21/68
Series 651 - 4/28/69 thru 11/19/73
Series 661 - 10/21/68 thru 8/11/69
Series 681 - 8/11/68 thru 10/7/70
Series 692 - 10/7/70 thru 3/15/73

Larry A. Summers

The MPC on this page was very kindly provided by Larry A. Summers.

For a background on MPC go to

Many more details available from


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