The History of Money and Playing Cards in “Canada”

I have found myself this year in great straits with regard to the subsistence of the soldiers. You did not provide for funds, my Lord, until January last. I have, notwithstanding, kept them in provisions until September, which makes eight full months. I have drawn upon my own funds and from those of my friends, all I have been able to get, but at last finding them without means to render me further assistance, and not knowing to what Saint to say my vows, money being extremely scarce, having distributed considerable sums on every side for the pay of the soldiers, it occurred to me to issue, instead of money, notes on cards, which I have cut in quarters. . . I have issued an ordinance by which I have obliged all the inhabitants to receive this money in payments, and to give it circulation, at the same time pledging myself, in my own name, to redeem the said notes.
Jacques de Meulles, the Intendant of Finance, came up with an ingenious solution — the temporary issuance of paper money, printed on playing cards.

The history of money in Canada involves the introduction of a currency made from “playing cards” in order to combat a certain economic environment.  This would be identical then to a sub set solution of throwing a currency into a sub economy such as “ipoker” (depending of course on certain comparable conditions).

Asymptotically Ideal Poker (ie Naj Coin), in some ways it might SEEM like a “money” but really it is very much more akin to using staples to set up a telecommunications network.  It should serve its purpose and then eventually “they” would be rendered a collectible historical item like the playing cards described below:

Wiki cliffs:

In 17th century New France, now part of Canada, the universally accepted medium of exchange was the beaver pelt. As the colony expanded, coins from France came to be widely used, but there was usually a shortage of French coins. In 1685, the colonial authorities in New France found themselves seriously short of money. A military expedition against the Iroquois had gone badly and tax revenues were down. Typically, when short of funds, the government simply delay paying merchants for purchases, but it was not safe to delay the payment of soldiers due to the risk of mutiny.
Jacques de Meulles, the Intendant of Finance, came up with an ingenious solution — the temporary issuance of paper money, printed on playing cards. This was purely a temporary expedient, and it was not until years later that its role as a medium of exchange was recognized. The first issue occurred in June 1685 and was redeemed three months later. However, the shortages of money reoccurred and more issues of card money were made in subsequent years. These cards were readily accepted by merchants and the public and circulated freely at face value. However, given their wide acceptance as money and the general shortage of coinage, many of the playing cards were not redeemed but remained in circulation. Eventually, the Governor of New France acknowledged their useful role as a circulating medium of exchange.[16]
As the finances of the French government deteriorated because of European wars, it reduced its financial support for its colonies, so the colonial authorities in Canada relied more and more on card money. By 1757, the government had discontinued payments in coin and all payments were made in paper. In an application of Gresham’s Law — bad money drives out good — people hoarded gold and silver, and used paper money instead. The costs of the war with the British led to rapid inflation in New France. Following the British conquest in 1760, the paper money became almost worthless, but business did not come to a halt because gold and silver that had been hoarded came back into circulation. Under the Treaty of Paris (1763), the French government agreed to convert the outstanding card money into debentures, but with the French government essentially bankrupt, these bonds fell into default and by 1771 they were worthless.
The Royal Canadian Mint still issues Playing Card Money in commemoration of its history, but now in 92.5% silver form with gold plate on the edge. It therefore has an intrinsic value which considerably exceeds its fiat value.[17]

Full source:

The introduction of a currency in certain circumstances might be used as a repricing mechanism for an economy that is stuck or stagnant from being “out-of-wack” or possibly having certain value measurement problems. The peoples can (and somewhat “must”) decide to do a “re-shuffle”, or in other words some sort of accepted dropping mechanism can introduce a catalyst and tool for a freer market form of barter. This can help spur certain economical advance in the form of things such as technological evolution, encouraging trade momentum, and other types of “economic inspiration”.

In his dispatches to the minister, dated 15 July and 14 August, whilst the expedition was underway, de Meulles, with rare prescience, expressed the fear that La Barre would not attack the Iroquois but would come to terms. When Louis XIV and the minister learned that this was indeed what had happened orders were immediately issued recalling La Barre, and the intendant’s judgement appeared to be vindicated. De Meulles, however, had little time to gloat. He had his hands full coping with a drastic situation in the colony. As intendant he was directly responsible for the welfare of its settlers and they were now in a sorry plight. The disease that had incapacitated the army spread through the colony with a heavy death toll. That summer four more companies of troops arrived but without arms, adequate supplies, or cash for their pay. De Meulles raised what money he could and when that was exhausted he released the soldiers to work on the land for wages. From this time on the curious practice of using regular troops as a civilian labour force, and the civilian militia for military operations, was to endure. Once the harvest was in, however, the habitants did not need this labour and de Meulles had to resort to another expedient to pay the troops. He deserves a good deal of credit for the imaginative and ingenious device that he now inaugurated: the issuing of the first paper money to circulate in North America. He took packs of playing cards, of which there seems to have been a plentiful supply, and made money of them by writing an amount on the back, with his signature. He issued an ordinance declaring that the cards would be redeemed as soon as the ships arrived from France with the annual supply of funds; meanwhile they had to be accepted at face value. This paper money had greater success and a longer life than de Meulles could ever have anticipated. There was always a shortage of currency in the colony (beaver skins were much used in lieu of it), and the card money filled a real need. In the years that followed, no sooner was the card money redeemed than necessity, or convenience, caused it to be reissued. The colony thus had a unique but viable monetary system of its own; one that, on the whole, served it well.

Card Money in New France

As a financial tool, card money played a significant role as a means of exchange. Despite the worries of French officials, colonial authorities were successful in arguing that card money served as a financial medium in Canada just as coinage did in France (Bank of Canada, 1990, p. 9). An economic substitute to the dangerous transfer of specie across the Atlantic, card money allowed France to benefit, since the King did not have the obligation to send coinage to Canada, which would have risked loss “either from the sea or from enemies” (Bank of Canada, 1990, p. 8).
In the fall of 1685, once the first issue of card money had been redeemed, Jacques Demeulles wrote of his experiment in a report to the home government: “No person has refused [the card money], and so good has been the effect that by this means the troops have lived as usual” (Lester, 1964, p. 11). Upon receiving this report, the King condemned the issue of card money for two reasons; firstly, that so easy a method of raising temporary funds would lead to extravagant expenditure in the colonies, for which he would be responsible when card money was withdrawn from circulation; and secondly, that the cards would be easy to counterfeit. The King’s initial concern would prove to be a considerably greater problem than the latter. However, forgeries of later issues of card money periodically caused a stir in the colonies, and measures for dealing with those responsible had to be developed (Lester, 1964).
According to judicial records, counterfeiting was among the most common crimes committed in 17th century New France, but its incidence was less than that of rape, abortion, or even bestiality. Nonetheless, apprehended counterfeiters were harshly dealt with, the first punishments including caning, branding, banishment, the galleys, and public shaming (Pritchard, 2004, p. 253). As early as 1690, a “Surgeon” is recorded as convicted of counterfeit in Quebec. After being severely flogged and whipped, the man was sold into bondage for three years, but subsequent offenders would receive the penalty for counterfeiting which was later changed to death by hanging (Lester, 1964, p. 12).
Problems arose as cards began to be over-issued in order to compensate for the failing economy in France (Heaton 1928, p. 653). Many cards were not being returned for redemption each year, nor were they always redeemable when they should have been (Heaton 1928, p. 653). As war expenses in Europe began to surpass the annual allowance, fewer and fewer supplies (especially in the form of coin) were sent to New France (Heaton 1928, p. 653). Meanwhile, the Habitants or settlers of New France were able to conduct most of their business through the fur trade, and therefore were not necessarily in need of coinage; because of this, they had a habit of hoarding what coins they acquired, which greatly decreased the amount of coin circulation in the economy and lead to further financial problems (Heaton 1928, p. 649-50).
In the early 1690s, due to excessive issuance of card money, inflation began to increase perceptibly (Bank of Canada 1990, 6). At the beginning of the eighteenth century, due to ongoing wars in Europe, the financial aid to the French colonies decreased, meaning that goods were regularly shipped in place of currency. This caused a higher reliance on card money as a form of payment (Heaton 1928, 654). By 1705, card money had become official tender and was relied upon to pay building costs as well as soldier’s pay (Heaton 1928, 655). As cards continued to be redeemed at full face value, supply far outweighed the demand and in 1717 it was decided that card money would be redeemed at a 50% discount and withdrawn from circulation (Bank of Canada 1990, 7).
The withdrawal of card money in 1717 without a valid replacement left New France in recession (Bank of Canada 1990, 7). In 1722 there was an attempt to introduce copper coins; however, they were not widely accepted, especially by merchants, and therefore were discontinued (Bank of Canada 1990, 7). Finally in 1727, in response to the demands of the merchants, the king re-issued card money as the official tender of New France (Bank of Canada 2013). This new reissued card money was printed on plain card stock without colors and was marked for value by either cutting or removing the corners from the cards (Marsh 1985). The new card money would be redeemed each year for goods or bills of exchange, which could be redeemed in France (Bank of Canada 1990, 7). Unfortunately, the new card money quickly gave rise to the same issues as before, and during the War of the Spanish Succession finances in France went from bad to bankruptcy (Heaton 1928, 655). By 1757, the government of New France had discontinued all payments made in specie and was relying on card money, “ordonnances” (promissory notes from the government) and treasury notes in order to fund operations within the colony (Bank of Canada 1990, 7-8).
By the year 1750, there had been a rapid increase in paper money circulation due to costs acquired from the war with Great Britain. Declining tax revenues and corruption lead to rapid inflation, and a letter from the Marquis de Montcalm in April 1759 stated that necessary life provisions cost eight times more than they had in in 1755 (Bank of Canada 1990, p. 9). By this point, card money had acquired the same value as cash, so the habitants began hoarding it as well, causing a sudden drop in the amount of card money in circulation (Heaton 1928, p. 658). On October 15, 1759, the French government decided to suspend the payment of bills of exchange from the treasury for payment of expenses of Canada until three months after peace had been restored (Bank of Canada 1990, 9).
After the British conquest in 1760, French Canadians still held about 16 million livres worth of paper money, with about 3.8 percent of it being card money (Marsh 1985). Paper money had become essentially worthless, with hoarded coin and silver beginning to come back into circulation (Bank of Canada 1990, 9). British merchants eventually began to accept card money and other forms of paper money at the rate of 80%-85% After three years of discussion, Versailles agreed to reimburse the cards – now mostly in the hands of British merchants – at one fourth of the original value (Heaton 1928, 662). By 1771, France was essentially bankrupt and all card money was deemed worthless (Bank of Canada 1990, 10).

Card Money

Card money is a type of fiat money printed on plain cardboard or playing cards, which was used at times as currency in several colonies and countries (including Dutch Guiana, New France, and France) from the 17th century to the early 19th century. Where introduced, it was often followed by high rates of inflation.

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