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Clay, Cardboard, and Zinc: Altered Coinage of World War II

By Lianna Spurrier for CoinWeek … ..
In the United States, the most dramatic impression that World War II had on our coinage was the steel penny .
The composition of our nickels changed equally well, but that wasn ’ t an immediately noticeable change in the appearance of the coin. Both changes are well-known by collectors today, but what about other countries ?

neologism across the world was affected by the war, some in much strange and far-reaching ways than steel pennies and partially-silver nickels .


Japan got very creative with alternative materials, both at home and in some of their invade territories .
The composing of the japanese 1 sen mint began to change in 1938. previously produced in brass, the bull percentage was reduced to create a bronze coin. later the same year, they released a significantly smaller and lighter 1 sen coin struck in aluminum. This musical composition adhere and was used through 1943, though the size was reduced again in 1941. between 1938 and 1941, the appellation flinch from 23mm to 16mm, and from 3.75g to 0.65g .
The most dramatic change, however, occurred in 1945. As the conclusion of WWII approached, Japan was suffering from a serious deficit of metals and wasting them on neologism had ceased to be an option. alternatively, they tested making 1 sen coins from baked clay. They appeared crimson, and were produced by individual companies for the mint .
Some patterns were made for other denominations, but the 1 sen cadaver coins are the only ones that may have circulated. According to Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Coins, they circulated for precisely a few days before the war ended, then were withdrawn. No other English-language beginning has been found that claims they were ever put into circulation, but it is known that significantly more 1 sen cadaver coins were made than any early of the test denominations. If the war had continued, they would have circulated .
Japan besides minted coins for many external territories, and some of these were affected vitamin a well. The region known as Manchukuo ( Manchuria ), which now makes up the northeast section of China, was controlled by Japan from 1931 to 1945 .
They had been minting coins for the district since 1932, but when metals became barely, Manchukuo ’ mho coins were an early casualty. In 1944, Japan began producing the district ’ mho 1 and 5 fen coins in a red fiber that resembled corrugated cardboard. These did circulate, and while coinage numbers aren ’ thyroxine known, they ’ rhenium not excessively expensive to purchase today .
together, these instances are some of the identical few non-metallic coins that have circulated in the mod world, though none seems as though it would hold up identical well .


Like the US, Canada besides had to change the constitution of their nickels, but their deepen wasn ’ triiodothyronine about american samoa subtle. In late 1942, they switched to a brass admixture called tombac, which was a copper-gold color. Hoping to make them easier to distinguish from pennies, they made the nickels 12-sided alternatively of round .
however, this wasn ’ metric ton adequate. When not paying attention, people still had excessively much disturb separating the new nickels from pennies .
In 1943, Canada changed the reverse design from the common beaver to a large V behind a common mullein. The V was intended to stand for both the appellation and Victory. In addition, the normal nickels had a bead surround ; they changed the shape and size of the beads to spell out “ We win when we work willingly ” in Morse code.

The same design was used through 1945, but they changed the composition in 1944 to steel, plated beginning in nickel and then steel. This gave them a slightly blue-tinted flatware tinge that looked exchangeable to nickel. The change was welcomed by the Canadian populace, last putting the complaints with tombac to bed. The Canadian Mint did have some trouble with the chrome-plating process, and a few were incidentally released without chrome. Those with the chrome plating strike very well .
After the war, Canada returned to the normal nickel alloy and beaver purpose, but they remained 12-sided until 1964 .


Belgium was occupied by Germany from 1940 until 1944, when it was liberated by Allied Forces. During the occupation, their previously silver coins were withdrawn from circulation and replaced with zinc variations .
The interest change came in 1944, after liberation. The United States used leftover sword planchets, primitively intended to produce steel cents in 1944, to strike 2 franc coins to circulate in barren Belgium. The 2 franc denomination had been discontinued and removed from circulation during the german occupation. however, the sword coins were only minted in 1944, after which no 2 franc coins were struck .
It seems as though the Belgians may have disliked the steel coins deoxyadenosine monophosphate much as Americans did .

Europe at Large

Like in Belgium, zinc was used for the coinage in many countries under german control .
In the Netherlands, all coins valued higher than 25 cents were discontinued, and all that remained were redesigned and issued in zinc. previously, they minted coins in an range of metals, such as bronze and silver. All of these disappeared and were replaced by the night and dull zinc coins .
With a few exceptions, most of the coins of Denmark were besides replaced by zinc, the smaller denominations of which remained through the 1970s. Many of Norway’s coins were issued in zinc, though the smaller denominations appeared in iron. The area was peculiarly rich people in the metallic element, so it made feel to use it for neologism .
Poland, the invasion of which ignited WWII, stopped officially issuing coins raw after 1939. That year, however, restrict quantities were produced in iron and zinc. Two denominations – the 10 and 20 grosz – were struck using honest-to-god dies, go steady 1923. The original 1923 issues were made in nickel, so the two are well distinguishable .
France was controlled by a puppet state run by Germany, the Vichy French State, which issued neologism with newfangled designs. On the 1 franc, for exercise, an artistic portrayal was replaced by a double bite ax. As for composition, they used both zinc and aluminum .
however, even countries throughout Europe that weren ’ metric ton controlled by Germany made drastic changes to their neologism systems in response to the war. In Italy, previously bronze coins were made in aluminum-bronze and higher denominations in stainless steel steel. The like metals were used in Albania, which was occupied by Italy, though the end of the war. After liberation, Albania switched to zinc.

Iceland remained impersonal for most of the war, but nickel shortages led them to stop producing 10 and 25 aurar coins in 1940. In 1942, both denominations were issued in zinc, and then discontinued wholly until 1946. Switzerland, another neutral country, had to replace their bronze coins with zinc, although no modifications were made to silver or nickel denominations .
Compared to many of these places, the changes that took place in America were minor. Our coins weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate entirely redesigned ; they didn ’ metric ton change size ; we didn ’ t have any non-metallic pieces .
early countries faced an entire overhaul of their coinage arrangement within a year or two, but a steel penny was far besides much trouble oneself for Americans to deal with.

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