Depression Scrip – Coming to a Region Near You

Armstrong Economics Blog/Cryptocurrency Re-Posted Feb 15, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: At the WEC, you said as the nation breaks apart, the most likely course of action will be the creation of local currencies. You also said you would post a catalog of Depression Scrip. I have not seen that. Can you post that, please?

Thank you for a great WEC. Always learning something new.


ANSWER: Sorry. I may have forgotten to publish that because I searched Amazon and could not find it. It was published back in 1984. Because Depression Scrip is not a huge field of collectors largely because most have never heard of the existence of private currency during the Great Depression, this book is quite rare. You may find some used copies that go for $125 or more.

I have studied the subject from the standpoint of economics. During the reign of Tiberius (14-37AD), he was very frugal and as such there was a shortage of money which led to a Financial Panic in 33AD. During such periods, private money surfaces as a necessity. This is why history repeats because human nature never changes. It will always respond the same way.

Here is private money from the Panic of 1837. The denomination reads 12 1/2 cents. This was issued by a Coffee House. Here is a half-penny issued by the New York store of Macy’s in 1876 following the Panic of 1873.

Throughout history, we see the very same reaction each and every time. I have collected a large number of private currencies covering the various financial waves of panic since Roman times. It has been a critical part of being able to forecast what takes place during these events. The common denominator is always humanity since we never change for thousands of years. We only progress in terms of technology – not our human emotions.

Here is private scrip issued by the San Francisco Clearing House where transactions were settled in the bond and stock markets. The backing was the private shares in companies. This was the Panic of 1907.

Here is another issued in 1908 in Augusta, Georgia. It was the Panic of 1907 that really we began to see widespread stock exchanges issuing money that began because if there was a shortage of cash, you could not conduct any business whatsoever since it was impossible to pay.

Here is the Chicago Clearing House which issued private money during the Great Depression in 1933. We find various stock exchanges issuing private currency in times when there was a shortage of money because people were hoarding their cash in times of uncertainty.

This was the very first Depression Scrip I ever saw and immediately purchased it. This opened the door in economics for me to understand how things function during a great crash. What took place during the Great Depression was that there was such a shortage of cash, over 200 cities began to issue their own currencies just to enable transactions to take place. Businesses could not hire people because there was no available cash to pay them

There are catalogs available in German concerning the NotGeld, private issues of currency, during the Hyperinflation of the 1920s. Once again, it does not matter what nation or culture. The same human response will unfold every time.

As the United States breaks up, as is the case in Europe, we will see currencies appears on a regional basis. This is how it will always work. I spent more than two decades investigating these trends and collecting scrip from all financial crises going back to ancient times. Without access to these examples, there is just no economic historical account that has ever tied all of this together. I had to explore this all on my own.

The Real Debt Crisis is Here

Armstrong Economics Blog/Sovereign Debt Crisis Re-Posted Feb 14, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Marty, Ever since the debacle in London with the long-term debt, there have been whispers in NYC about how the demand for long-term is drying up. When this becomes critical, is that when the whole thing comes crashing down?


ANSWER: That was the real gist of Yellen’s speech back in October of 2022. Of course, the US press will never elaborate on this problem until it smacks them in the face. Yellen publicly admitted that the Treasury asked the primary dealers of US government debt for their views on the merits and limitations of a buyback program. The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, made up of market participants, highly recommended considering the move because the demand for long-term was declining.

Yellen herself publicly acknowledged the decline in trading volume in 20-year bonds, which they reintroduced in 2020 thanks to COVID. Quoting from her direct comments:

“The 20-year Treasury is an area, an issue where there’s been less liquidity — but we haven”t made any decisions about it.” 

Even the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association came out and publicly also stated last October that there had been episodes of illiquidity. This was the same problem that created the Crisis in the Long-term British gilt market.

Institutions do not want to buy the long-term in the face of (1) rising interest rates to fight inflation, and (2) unlimited handing of money to Ukraine that will NEVER come back for Ukraine is a black hole and reliable sources are deeply concerned that Ukraine will lose and exist no more.

The escalation in debt on the horizon with World War III is beyond the capacity of the Primary Dealers to buy.  They are strained now with the debt expansion for socialism, then Ukraine, and add War, this system is cracking NOW! The Primary Dealers cannot buy more debt than their balance sheets allow. The “whispers” running around have been on the street. The press has not articulated this for (1) it’s above their pay grade to comprehend, and (2) they cannot dare report the truth.

Conversation with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | How The Powerful Captured The Public During The Pandemic

Kim Iversen Posted originally on Rumble on: Feb 3, 6:00 pm EST

Fox News – “ominous Great Depression warning”

Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics Re-Posted Feb 1, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Fox Business is reporting that economic conditions are much worse than you are being told.  Unfortunately, this is the conclusion when you have ZERO understanding of the historical trends and economic conditions. It is true that the shortages of COVID have caused prices to rise faster than economic growth and most incomes.  Therefore, they conclude that our standard of living has been rapidly declining.  The number reveals that more than one-third of all U.S. young adults are being supported in part by their parents. Thanks to COVID, this disrupted society far greater than anyone is reporting. In addition to the shortages because of the lockdowns, by the end of 2020, more than half of young adults in America were living with one or both parents. That statistic actually exceeded the record high of the Great Depression.

Here is the worst part of this analysis. Many are jumping on the bandwagon claiming that the decline in real disposable income has been the largest since 1932 and therefore, this is a warning sign of a Great Depression is coming. They seem to be focused on the fact that the GDP report showed a significant decline in real disposable income, which fell over $1 trillion in 2022. Now let’s look closer!

First of all, the entire reason why unemployment rise to 25% during the latter part of the Great Depression was the Dust Bowl. Why? At that time, about 40% of the civil workforce was still agrarian. The Dust Bowl meant job loss. If you could not even plant crops, there was no need for people to pick crops.

Service during the Great Depression accounted for 17% of the workforce compared to 44%+ today. Government, federal, state, and local, was 22% of the civil workforce during the Great Depression compared to 33% by 1980. Things have continued to evolve and by 2019, services represent 79.41%. Agriculture is now a tiny fraction of what it once was – 1.41%.

In the USA, at the state level, their share of the civil workforce varies greatly. Florida is at about 11.3% compared to New Mexico which is 22.5% – a government employee’s paradise. The lowest is Michigan at 10.1%.

During the Great Depression, the entire reason for the collapse in disposable income was the collapse in agriculture which created a collapse in income due to massive unemployment. That is totally different from the crisis we have today.

Here we have rising prices due to shortages and then central banks raising interest rates in a fool’s quest to stop inflation when it is not based on speculation. Moreover, the biggest borrower is the government, and rising interest rates will only increase their exposure to keep rolling over the debt. Therefore, governments have been borrowing year after year. What happens when the public no longer buys their debt? Real disposable income has been collapsing for completely different reasons since 1932. Here we have the costs of everything rising and then these people want war with Russia and China. Every war since the start of recorded history has resulted in inflation. Add to this, the total insanity of trying to end climate change by outlawing fossil fuels at a time when the climate is prone to getting colder.

We are already witnessing riots around the world BECAUSE of inflation. During the Great Depression, people were suffering from DEFLATION. So comparing just that statistic of a decline in personal income and projecting we now face a Great Depression, does not even qualify to be classified as analysis. That is no different from someone warning that carrots must be lethal because everyone who has ever eaten a carrot has obviously died.

Interview: Martin Armstrong on 32% Inflation

Armstrong Economics Blog/Armstrong in the Media Re-Posted Jan 14, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

18th Century Copper Riots & Private Money

Armstrong Economics Blog/Civil Unrest Re-Posted Jan 6, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

During the reign of King George III (1760–1820) the first issue of halfpennies actually was not issued until 10 years after his accession to the throne in 1770. Consequently, the vast number of halfpennies in circulation were actually all counterfeits. Indeed, counterfeiting became rampant at first because there was a coin shortage. In 1771, it was declared that counterfeiting copper coins were to be a serious crime. Nevertheless, this really made no difference. Over the course of the next twenty years, the majority of copper coins in circulation were forgeries. Even in the American Colonies, a favorite pastime was to counterfeit British halfpennies.

Coppers of this type are thought to have been minted from mid-1787 through 1788 and probably into 1789. Interestingly, it appears Thomas Machin first produced halfpence dated to the contemporary year as well as examples backdated to 1778. As the mints in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont failed, their equipment ended up at Machin’s Mills. Along with imitation British halfpence, Machin’s Mills also produced illegal Connecticut coppers and some legal Vermont Coppers, with most of their Vermont coins being struck over counterfeit Irish halfpence. The illegal coining operation continued at Machin’s Mills until around early 1790, which was longer than any of the legal mints in New England.

John Adams wrote to John Jay on April 10. 1787

“There is a vast sum in Circulation here of base Copper: to the amount of Several hundreds of thousands of Pounds. very lately these half Pence are refused every where: I suppose in Consequence of some Concerted Scheme. and it is supposed that they will be all purchased for a trifle and Sent to the United States where they will pass for good metal, and consequently our Simple Country men be cheated of an immense sum.2 The Board of Treasury, may be ordered with out the avowed Interposition of Congress, to give the alarm to our Citizens. and the seperate States would do well to prohibit this false Money from being paid or received.3

There was religious tension in Britain that still lingers to this day against Catholics. The Gordon Riots of 1780 took place over several days instigated by the anti-Catholic sentiment that again erupted with the passage of the Papists Act of 1778. That was an attempt to reduce official discrimination against British Catholics with the first legislation of the Popery Act of 1698. At the time, Lord George Gordon was the head of the Protestant Association. He argued that the law would enable Catholics to join the British Army and once in they would then use the army to plot treason. The protest became the excuse to burn people’s possessions, engaged in widespread rioting and looting, and they even used the opportunity to attack both Newgate Prison and the Bank of England. This was by far the most destructive riot in the history of London.


From the mid-1600s, the world money supply was increased largely with copper coins. Russia, in particular, began to overvalue the copper coins. Money is always fiat for its value is typically dictated by the government. Overvaluing copper as in the 17th and 18th centuries, led to the same trend of overvaluing silver during the 19th century. The result of this monetary manipulation by the Russian government led to what became known as the Copper Riots of 1662.

The Russian government began producing copper coins and monetizing them to be of equal value to silver Kopek currency with an average weight of about half of a gram to meet expenses during the mini-Ice Age. The effort failed and silver vanished from circulation as people began hoarding them causing the entire economy to collapse. The copper money was naturally devalued in purchasing power and then there were widespread counterfeiting operations since the official value of the copper coinage became far in excess of the cost of production. The economy collapsed into a deflationary black hole as businesses shut down and unemployment rose dramatically. This erupted into what has become known as the Copper Riots of 1662.

The German bankers, the Fuggers, emerged as the leading Augsburg merchant-banker, who then provided loans to local rulers secured with the silver produce of their mines. The discovery of vast silver mines eventually led to the development in 1525 of the one-ounce silver coin that was the thaler from which we derive the name “dollar” as the alternative to the British pound after the American Revolution. The Joachimsthaler of the Kingdom of Bohemia was therefore the first thaler ideally with a weight of 31 grams or one troy ounce.


As the silver mines were declining, the decline in the supply of silver led to the rise of copper coinage during the next century. This was not an isolated incident confined to Russia. There was a shortage of precious metals going into 1662. It was most profound in Russia. Nevertheless, the price of gold rose sharply from the low of 1655 in a 7-year bull market. This also reflected the deflationary atmosphere that was emerging thanks also to the mini-Ice Age which was peaking during the 17th century yet would last well into the mid-19th century.

It was Spain’s silver mine known as the great red Cerro Rico or ‘Rich Hill’ that towered over the city of Potosí in Bolivia. It had been mined since 1545 by drafted armies of natives. The great silver boom of c1575-1635 was when Potosí alone produced nearly half the world’s silver. But the mine’s yield was starting to decline. By 1678, native workers became scarce and the output of the mines began to dwindle. This was the royal mint that produced vast amounts of ‘pieces of eight’, which became the precursor of the American dollar. The shortage of labor ended up being augmented by purchasing African slaves from the Dutch who were buying them under the pretense that they were the spoils of war, which had been the justification for slaves from ancient times.

As the quantity of new silver in the world monetary system was declining, we begin to see the rise of copper coinage make its first appearance under James I of England (1603-1625). Due to a shortage of small coins, James I authorized John Harrington to issue tin-coated bronze farthings in 1613, and three main types were minted – the last being a slightly larger copper farthing without the tin coating. The first halfpenny was introduced in 1672 by Charles II (1660-1685). Charles II issued some copper halfpennies and farthings in 1672 for a single year but issued farthings again in 1873. The next issue of a farthing was struck in a tin but during 1684 and 1685.

However, in 1694 the Bank of England was established to raise money for King William III’s war against France. The Bank started to issue notes in return for deposits. Therefore, the money supply for the first time began to include paper currency. By 1695 the first fraud took place. The authorities prosecuted Daniel Perrismore for forging sixty £100 notes. This incident caused the Bank of England to introduce a watermark in the paper to prevent such fraud. This was further enhanced by making counterfeiting subjected to the death penalty as a felony resulting in the confiscation of all your wealth and throwing your family out of the street as well. Pictured here, is a protest imitation note. The law was being prosecuted on the mere possession of a forged note. The complaint here was that these one-pound notes were easily forged and innocent people were duped, thereby committing a felony by mere possession. They were being hanged with no proof that they created the forgery – merely that they possessed one. This was creating an incentive not to even accept the notes in transactions.

George I, II, and III all issued copper halfpennies. George III’s halfpennies were dated 1770 to 1772. The economic hard times no doubt contributed to the riots of 1780. After those events, at Newgate Prison in March 1782 a female alleged counterfeiter of halfpennies was hanged. She was then fixed to a stake and burned before the debtor’s door at Newgate prison in London as a further example of not to counterfeit.

In a letter to Lord Hawkesbury on April 14th, 1789, Matthew Boulton, who is considered the Grandfather of modern coinage,  commented

“In the course of my journeys, I observe that I receive upon average two-thirds counterfeit halfpence for change at toll-gates, etc., and I believe the evil is daily increasing, as the spurious money is carried into circulation by the lowest class of manufacturers, who pay with it the principal part of the wages of the poor people they employ”.

Boulton’s contract in 1797 to produce the Cartwheel pennies and twopences, thwarting the counterfeiters, did not extend to producing the halfpenny, though Boulton had expected that it would, and had prepared patterns of the appropriate size and weight in accordance with his ideas on the intrinsic value of copper coins. The reason the government gave for the omission of the denomination from the contract was that a large number of de facto halfpennies (including tokens and fakes) would be driven out of circulation and Boulton would be unable to produce enough coins to meet the demand that would ensue.

To avoid being hung for counterfeiting and burned at the stake, there was a multitude of halfpenny tokens. Many were of a political nature as this one complaining about the cost of bread. The government yielded to the private halfpenny tokens which became the majority of the small change. The overall public demand for legal halfpennies soon forced the government to change its mind, and in 1798 a contract was issued to Boulton for him to produce halfpennies and farthings dated 1799.

Interestingly, it was also at this time when inflation sent the price of copper rising, and consequently, the weight of the coins was reduced slightly, which resulted in them not being as popular as expected. In 1806 a further 427.5 tons of copper was struck into halfpennies by Boulton, but the price of copper had risen again and the weight was even less than the 1799 issue. This time, however, there was no unfavorable reaction from the public, so perhaps the national obsession with “intrinsic value” had run its course.

This was a very curious period where private money dominated the money supply for halfpennies. There are other periods where this has emerged in history primarily due to the shortage of real official money. One of the earliest such periods was during the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37AD).

Tiberius was legendary to be a frugal emperor. His deliberate contraction in creating new money led to the Financial Panic of 33AD. As far as Quantitative Easing, that too was nothing new. Tiberius offered loans INTEREST-FREE, but they had a limitation of three years. This was to prevent people from being forced to sell their estates further depressing land values.

There was a major earthquake in Asia, modern Turkey, and this was so devastating, he issued coins stating they were for the relief of Asia. He also waived all taxes in the region for 5 years – something our modern-day politicians would never dream of.

The lesson from history reveals that at times there emerges the acceptance of private money. During the 1870s, we also see private tokens circulating as money in the United States. Collectors call them the Hard Times Tokens. The very same thing took place during the American Civil War.

During the Great Depression, the shortage of money led to more than 200 cities issuing their own paper currency. As long as everyone in town accepted it, these Depressions Scrips enable people to work and to be paid locally when there was simply not enough federal money to go around.

During the Hyperinflation in Germany of the 1920s, there again we see private currency being printed known as NOTGELD. Therefore, in the end, when the confidence in government declines, society is compelled to return to a barter-based society and that is when we begin to see private forms of money take hold.

2022 Inflation is Final – 32% for the year

Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics Re-Posted Jan 2, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Our Independent Inflation model has calculated that the combined rate for everything from food to transportation came in at 32% for 2022. That is a far cry from the official number. This is simply calculated by Socrates from an unbiased perspective. Thank you, COVID & the Russian Sanctions. What a new wonderful world the Biden Administration has created.