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Working Papers

September 2003, No. 03-12

Shortages of Small Change in Early Argentina

Huberto M. Ennis

In this note I review evidence suggesting that shortages of small change occurred in the territory of Argentina during the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. For the colonial period (until 1810) the main pieces of evidence are: (i) the widespread use of informal means of payment, (ii) the difficulties faced in retiring from circulation low quality subsidiary coins, and (iii) the numerous official resolutions banning the exporting of fractional money from the colonies. For the period from 1810 to 1825, the episodes surrounding the introduction of copper coins in 1821 and the issuing of low denomination circulating bank notes in 1823 appear as the main supporting evidence.

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