World War II Era Foreign Paper Money

One of the more
common questions we receive is about the value of World War 2 era foreign paper currency that our customers have run across as they go through the belongings of an older family member.  Usually, these notes were brought back to the States by soldiers returning from the war.

As the soldiers were clearing out buildings and towns in WW2, they often came across paper currency like French Francs, German Marks, Italian Lire, etc. By the time the war started, many of those bills were already obsolete and no longer legal tender to spend due to monetary changes or changes of governments. The original owners had kept them hoping they would one day have value again, much like people kept Confederate currency after the Civil War ended on the hopes that the South would rise again and the notes would once again have value. Some, like the Philippines and nearby Pacific Islands, were issued by the Japanese because they thought they would control those islands forever. When the Allied troops liberated the islands, those bills became worthless to spend and were kept as souvenirs. While some notes can be very collectible, many of these WW2 era bills now sell for only around $1 to $2 each as inexpensive reminders of that very historic time.

Like any collectible paper money you may come across, be sure to keep them flat and unfolded, and never use glue or scotch tape on them as that will severely diminish any potential value they may have.

And one last note, this information on WW2 era notes also often applies to many Korean War era and Vietnam War era Foreign notes as well.


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