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14 Aug 2018  Tue

Did you know shinplaster is a term used to describe currency of little or no value?

Shinplaster is a term used for a piece of privately issued paper currency; especially the one which is poorly secured and depreciated in value. It is also used to denote a piece of fractional currency.

The term was probably coined during the American War of Independence (1775–1783) and named for its resemblance to, and suitability for makeshift use as, a bandage for dressing the shin. After the continental currency had become almost worthless, an old soldier who possessed a quantity of it, which he could not get rid of, very philosophically made use of it as plasters to a wounded leg!

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name comes from the quality of the paper, which was so cheap that with a bit of starch it could be used to make Paper Mache–like plasters to go under socks and warm shins.

Shinplasters circulated in the United States from 1837 to 1863, during the period known as the "Free Banking Period." In Canada, the term shinplaster was widely used for 25-cent paper monetary notes which circulated in the 19th century and early 20th century. Shinplasters where also used in Australia as they formed the core of a company shop economy during the 1840s and 50s. Most of these notes were issued by private companies.

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