Funny Money Introduction / Diefenbaker dollars

Funny Money is seldom funny and rarely money. The phrase “Funny Money” was first coined by the Social Credit movement in the 1930s. Collectors now use the phrase to refer to any piece of paper with a political message and a loose resemblance to currency. Occasionally the message supports but, more often, opposes a political party.

Many examples of funny money are highly scurrilous; especially those issued by private, often anonymous, individuals. The amateurish designs, often caricatures plagiarized from newspaper editorial cartoons, seem to represent a genuine form of folk art that falls in the numismatic category known as “Exonumia” which covers issues such as tokens, medals or scrip, other than coins and paper money.

Canadian funny money has been issued by individuals to champion causes, and by political parties to roast opponents. No one knows for sure how many different issues there have been; estimates vary in the hundreds. Many were poorly circulated and short-lived, especially those handed out as an election gimmick in individual ridings. Many modern collectors bemoan the fact that most of the original recipients of early issues of Canadian funny money threw the stuff in the nearest trash can.

Popular targets of Canadian funny money were John George Diefenbaker who inspired half a dozen different “Diefendollars”.   Both Trudeau and Rene Levesque have garnered at least that many or more making it hard to know who the most ridiculed Canadian leader truly is.

Diefenbaker – 92-1/2 cents. Same both sides >

Diefenbaker - 92-1/2 cents. Same both sides

The most popular theme has been the decline in value of the Canadian dollar, with Quebec separatism as a close second. Other targets have been Bill Davis’s Big Blue Machine, Petro Canada, wheat sales to china, the F.L.Q., Pearson’s flag. Some of the more recent additions have been Baloney (Mulroney) Bucks, Martin Money, Harper Dollars, and Duffy Bucks, and the list keeps growing.

With your help we can bring awareness of this small but fascinating area of numismatics to a wider public and make available a forum to share information that has not been readily available to collectors before.

With this goal in mind we would like to hear from collector who may have one, two or a dozen of these items tucked away in your collections and would like to share information , scans/pictures with your fellow collectors.

Diefendollars

Issued by the Liberals to condemn the government of John G. Diefenbaker for devaluing the Canadian dollar in 1962, it became an election issue. A number of varieties exist of these issues.

Diefenbuck – 92-1/2 cents. Same both sides >

 

Diefenbaker – 92-1/2 cents. Same both sides. Note: Play Money printed above the signatures >

Diefenbaker - 92-1/2 cents. Same both sides.

Diefenbaker – 92-1/2 cents. Other side features Liberal candidate advertising

Diefenbaker - 92-1/2 cents.

Diefenbaker - 92-1/2 cents. One side features Liberal candidate advertising. Note: The printers mark in the lower right hand corner.

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