Unknown Money, Many Stories Part 1: The Masbate Mining Token




The Masbate Consolidated Mining Pre-War Token Note

In the year 1380, different people from the mainland Asia migrated to the Philippines, mainly in search of gold. Various sites including Paracale, Surigao, Mountain Province, and Masbate were already famous for their gold deposits.

During the arrival of the Americans in the early 1900, one of the initial projects of the American government was to mine and extract mineral resources from the newly acquired territory. As early as 1909, blasting and clearing already commenced in the island of Masbate towards its jungle and mountainside for the establishment of a mine.

Masbate Consolidated Gold Mine is the first US-operated open pit mine in the Philippines. Located inside the jungle of Masbate, it is one of the isolated mining communities in the Philippines. Because of the mine’s location, the management established a private monetary system or mining token since money was scarce and of no practical used. Most of the goods and commodities inside the mines were under the control of the company and competition from outside merchants was impossible due to the mine’s location.

There were no other known values except for the 5 Peso denomination, which is printed on thin Manila paper which measures 7 cm. X 17.5 cm. signed by still two unknown officers and with the official signature stamp of Barney Faust, the Mine's manager.

The Mine was looted at the height of the Japanese invasion in the Philippines in 1942. Much of documents and facilities were either destroyed or stripped down by looters and evacuees when gossip about the invasion of the island by the Imperial Japanese Forces was imminent.

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