Falset, 1 pesseta and 50 centims, 1937, Spanish Civil War, Republican zone. Celluloid coins!
The beautiful mountain village of Falset (pop 2838 in 2014) is the largest in the Priorat region of Catalunya, renowned for its fabulous wines.
During the Spanish Civil War, 1937-1939, coinage was in very short supply, exacerbating the food shortages. George Orwell, in Homage to Catalonia commented:
"A minor annoyance of the time was the lack of small change. The silver had been withdrawn and as yet no new coinage had been issued, so that there was nothing between the ten-centime piece and the note for two and a half pesetas, and all notes below ten pesetas were very scarce. For the poorest people this meant an aggravation of the food shortage. A woman with only a ten-peseta note in her possession might wait for hours in a queue outside the grocery and then be unable to buy anything after all because the grocer had no change and she could not afford to spend the whole note.” The solution to this problem has been described as monetarised anarchy. Local co-operatives, trades unions and village councils were authorised to produce their own coins and banknotes, up to set amounts.
Falset produced the first plastic coins ever circulated, I believe! These were made from celluloid discs, printed on both sides. The obverse bears the arms of the village, and the reverse the denomination. These coins are very fragile, and rare.