Depression-Era Coin Proves What Governments Will Do to Your Money

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Finally, we found an artefact of France’s depression-era currency collapse while going through the contents of our father’s old Spanish chest. It’s a small, gold-looking coin. On one side it’s dated 1921 and says “Commerce” and “Industrie”. On the other it has a big “1” surrounded by the words Bon Pour and Franc. “Good for one Franc”. Where did it come from? What did it mean?

Our curiosity piqued, we went to the Google to see what we could find. At one coin site we read this, “This coin is indeed a French franc made of aluminium bronze (Br Al) and minted from 1920-28. It is a form of emergency money as there was a shortage of small value coins during this period of global economic depression. It actually says it is ‘Good for 1 Franc’. Dumard was the coin’s designer. Collector value depends on date, number minted, mint mark (if any), and condition of a coin, including amount of wear, any dents, scratches or cleaning. This one had a mintage of nearly 55 million and may be worth US$1 or less if it has any wear at all.”

If correct, this shows what all governments eventually do to your money. They inflate supply gradually so that each new unit worth less and less. This particular coin isn’t a franc…but it’s good for a franc. It might as well be a bottle cap. The government encourages you to treat it as if it were worth something. The melt value of the metals in the coin were probably more valuable than the coin itself.

Something like this has been happening to American money since 1974, when the quantity of paper money was de-linked with the gold in Ft. Knox. Left to their own devices, governments will print as much money as they can, until the market holds them accountable and the currency approaches its true value. Whether you believe in the ability of Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve to save the US dollar reminds us a little of Pascal’s gamble about the existence of God.

Blaise Pascal, the famous French mathematician, famously showed that the value of believing in God outweighed the value of not believing in him. If you believe in God and God is real, you’re saved. If you believe in God and God is not real, no big deal. But if you don’t believe in God and God is real, you’re doomed to hellfire and damnation. The prudent risk-management, Pascal reasoned, is to believe in God.

We would suggest that prudent risk management when it comes to money is to believe that, given enough time, the government will destroy the purchasing power of your savings. The value of believing in the eventual failure of central banking is infinitely greater than the value of believing in the success of central banks.

And really, what are the alternatives?

One the one hand, you can have confidence in the way the government manages your money. To do so, you’d have to ignore all the facts confirming the government’s active mis-management of the money and the money supply. But go ahead if you’d like.

What is the value of believing that paper money schemes always fail? Well, that one is simple. If you believe it, then you’ll take steps to prepare for the eventual collapse of the paper money system and its replacement by something else (probably by some other paper money system.)

What do you really risk by not trusting in the durability of government money? Your risk is that the historically inevitable collapse of fiat money which we here at the Daily Reckoning think you are witnessing…may never come in your lifetime.

Dan Denning
The Daily Reckoning Australia

Would you put your faith in a paper money scheme? Leave a comment below.

Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.
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12 Comments on "Depression-Era Coin Proves What Governments Will Do to Your Money"

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William Pix
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I watched the “money Masters” on youtube last night. The banks have got the masses in a straight jacket

Is there any way to break this evil monopoly on money? Even the price of gold is controlled

Michael Gipp
Guest

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint has replaced all of its formerly nickel, copper, and cupronickel coins with stainless steel. And this year, they have quietly announced a program whereby they recall all the old coins in circulation, remove the ones with valuable alloys, and flood the world with more stainless steel coins.

Pier Johnson
Guest

Do you know metals composition of today’s fancy-backed picture US FedBack quarter dollar coins vs the old Geo Washington coins?

Billy
Guest

The State quarters (the fancy-backed picture quarters) are of the same size and composition as the quarters made since 1964 when silver was removed from the currency.

matt
Guest

“debt as money” is also a great movie for info about fractional reserve, dishonest banking,And whatever happened to the constitution declaring only gold and silver were for money there was good reason to put that in there- we’ve been duped -nobody seems to care.

nic meredith
Guest

Dan,
Just discovered your website and enjoying reading the articles…..I agree with the article above excepting that to me it is the Federal Reserve(s) that controls inflation of money…..Governments and people generally dont understand these issues and while Government may be the focus of peoples ire, it is in reality financeers who are responsible……having said that Governments SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILTY TO ENSURE SOUND MONEY BUT THEY DONT…..I wish we had a Ron Paul in Australia…………!
Excellent site Dan!

bill
Guest

as an example, one can place a $20 (1) gold piece on a table next to it’s
equivalent value in “$20” u.s. fed.
notes (33) .
can a reasonable patriotic citizen
gain some insight from this ?
bill

Dresen Liam Moss
Guest
To answer Pier johnson’s question about modern quarter dollar and old george washington quarters I’m assuming he’s refering to the pre 1965 silver coin standard we were one. From the founding of this nation until 1965 coins were made of silver or gold whose value was based on weight and their purity (coins were 90% gold or silver with the remaing 10% copper or nickel to aid in coin life by extending coin wear). A dollar coin had close to a dollar worth of silver. A $20 gold coin had nearly an ounce of gold as its value. Gold was… Read more »
Troy H.
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Pascal’s wager doesn’t work and neither does this. What if God (or some other entity) didn’t want worship but wanted skeptics, well then Pascal’s wager backfires. And why pick one god at a risk of offending all the other possible gods.
In this case you have a bar of gold sitting there, it can’t collect interest and can lose value.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)
Guest
Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)
I’m quite happy to put my faith in fiat paper money … for two of the functions of money, but not the third. That is to say: a) as a measure of value and b) as a means to transfer value. In nearly every circumstance imaginable the roo, kiwi, loon, or greenback will hold its value quite well enough for the purposes of everyday commerce. Since my barber doesn’t want 50 lbs of potatoes each time I ask him for a haircut — I farm for a living — we each happily agree on USD 9.00, plus a tip. It… Read more »
samuraidave
Guest
we are entering hyperinflation and we will see the effects filtering through the economys… depression is real… and we are only comenting on the daily death of a economy.. think foward and i belive you will see the collapse is eventuating … a new system is needed but will it be better from the old.. there must be a death so we can morn our losses. a few years later as we come out of a mental deppression . and then a few years more when greed overwhelms poverty . say about 10 years plus things should get back on… Read more »
samuraidave
Guest
Global denial Today in the world we are at the point of financial demise, our dollar in Australia is now at 88 cents. That means exports will be slowing causing job loses and effecting tourism as it will cost more for other countries to spend in Australia. In America there housing market is collapsing as is ours soon to be. The government in America is devaluating there dollar to about 30% less as to increase globally demand for there exports and tourism to there country as it will be cheaper to travel there than else where. The problem is in… Read more »
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