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Login Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Emergency Currencies

133, 10 Oct 2010



Did you know…

fear of a Japanese invasion prompted the United States to issue special emergency currencies?

When Japanese forces over-ran Manila on 2 January 1942, they captured more than $20.5-million in US currency and an unknown amount of foreign currency and bullion. The US, fearful of a similar invasion of the Hawaiian Islands, developed an economic defense plan, replacing the normal legal tender in the Hawaiian Islands with a specially marked and easily identifiable emergency currency. The government began the distribution of this new currency in July 1942 and completed the undertaking on 15 August 1942

In case of capture, the US could identify and demonetize any currencies falling into the enemy’s hands. The US government prohibited the circulation of regular US currency in Hawaii until October 1944; when the government revoked the currency restrictions to this area, the Hawaiian Islands returned to normal monetary operations.

Printers modified $1 Silver Certificates and $5, $10 and $20 Federal Reserve Notes of San Francisco by overprinting HAWAII on the obverse and reverse and using brown ink for the bill’s seal and serial numbers.


If you have questions about this trivial piece of information, if you would like to pass along a little known fact about the Finance Corps, or if you would like to contact the Museum Curator, call Mr. Henry Howe at (803) 751-3771 (DSN 734-3771) or send an email to henry.howe@conus.army.mil


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