A book named “The Complete Book of World War II USA POW & Internment Camp Chits: Prisoner of War Money in the United States” by Dave Frank and David E. Seelye has been recently released and can be purchased for $39.99. It shares valuable information about money or chits used by 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war during World War II from 1942 to 1946 in 46 U.S. states to buy cigarettes, candy, paper and postage, 3.2% beer, or other items.
Prisoners of War were allowed to do activities such as farming, construction, and manufacturing. They were paid an amount according to their military rank. A private got less money than an officer. Many of them even returned home wealthier than before. They could also purchase canteen coupons to buy essentials.
Ticket-like chits were manufactured by private printers instead of introducing a unified payments system. Many other books have been written and published on this topic, but this one by Messrs. Frank and Seelye was compiled together after several years of research and documentation.
Short histories and interesting events from most of the camps are mentioned in the book. For example, German POWs in Nebraska had protested for a whole day as a shipment of beer was delayed. They were already angry because of the low alcohol content in beer. Coloured illustrations of Chits and their booklets are depicted along with their market value in used and new condition, with the help of a new numbering system, invented by the authors. Pictures of old maps, documents, and photographs are also incorporated in the book. The book contains 256 6×9-inch pages and more than 900 photos.
Image Courtesy: Coin and Currency Institute