23rd of February 1729

On this day during a currency shortage in New France, in modern-day Canada, King Louis XV issued playing card money to replace coins.

Like a standard casino deck, the cards were stamped with suits, numbers, and faces, but on the back they contained a note handwritten by the governor distinguishing them as legal tender. A card’s denomination depended on how it was cut: if the card was fully intact, it was worth 24 livres; with its corners cut off, it counted for 12 livres. After the British conquered New France in 1760 and recirculated gold and silver coins, card money became nearly worthless. The French government offered Quebecois 25 percent of a card’s value—6 livres to the full denomination, 3 livres to the half—to buy back the playing cards and take them out of circulation.

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