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AAFES POGS

OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM &
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
"GIFT CERTIFICATES"

 

What are these things? The coins shown in this section are money, just like ordinary nickels, dimes and quarters in America. But, unlike regular coins in America, they are not legal tender. Printing currency is against the law so AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Services, the WalMart for the military) at the direction of the Department of Defense created these as "gift certificates" for use by servicemembers participating in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. They are commonly referred to as "pogs."

But why paper? The military operating in these regions must dedicate its shipments to vital hardware and supplies. Metal coins weigh a lot more than these pogs. Both of these problems are circumvented by using paper currency in the place of metal coins.

Where can they be used? These coins are not legal tender so they cannot be used everywhere. They were created for use at AAFES stores serving troops deployed in contingency operations. Where pogs are issued Though they are only issued as change downrange, they are also accepted at AAFES stores worldwide. That means a soldier returning to a base in Germany or America, or elsewhere, from Iraq or Afghanistan with a pocketful of pogs won't have to lose money because of these pogs. Though, they do make great collectors items!

How can I get my own pogs? As with anything, eBay will usually have some for sale. Though what you find on eBay will likely be quite expensive. Numispedia does not have any for sale or trade at the moment, but if we ever do a notice will be posted here (please do not mail us asking for some unless the notice is up). Your best bet, if for some reason you're not eligible to join the military, is to find a pen pal deployed in the OEF/OIF areas. Check the Letters and Messages section at DOD's Show Your Support page for ways to do this. Please realize that the men and women over there are doing a tough job and their priority is not to boost your collection; be polite and courteous towards their situation. Even if you're not looking for pogs it would be a good idea to write the servicemen overseas, they enjoy it greatly. Good luck!

How does the numbering system work? Numispedia uses a system different from that you may have seen elsewhere. The idea behind our system is to make it as intuitive as possible. The first number is that of the series. Then a letter to denote the denomination: A=5¢, B=10¢, C=25¢. From there it becomes necessarily arbitrary: the next set of numbers corresponds to the order in which they are commonly displayed. If there is a variety, we'll affix another letter to the end. Since with and without OEF/OIF overprints are the most common varieties so far, "a" is reserved for those with the overprint and "b" for those without. Sounds like a lot, but it really does make listing pogs easier than other systems.

How should I store my pogs? AAFES produced a trifold album that could hold a full series, but it seems they no longer make them. You could easily keep your pogs tucked away in envelopes, but then how would you look at them? I recommend using standard 20-pocket non-PVC pages. They fit any 3-ring binder and are available anywhere coin collecting supplies are sold. The pogs stay nicely in place so long as you don't shake the album upside down. If you want an extra level of protection you could put them in mylar 2x2 flips.

 

AAFES pogs home

Quick links:

 Series One (ND/2003)

 Series Two (ND/2003)

 Series Three (2003)

 Series Four (2004)

 Series Five (2004)

 Series Six (2005)

 Series Seven (2005B)

 Series Eight (2006A)

 Series Nine (2006B)

 Nickels

 Dimes

 Quarters

 View all on one page

 OIF 2003 Album

 

Pog stuff :

 Checklist

 Articles

 Guestbook

 

Related links:

 AAFES

 Support Our Troops

 Join the military!

 

 

 

Need help IDing your pogs? Don't know which series it belongs to? At least you know if it is a nickel or a dime, so try looking at all dimes on a single page!

View all series by denomination: All nickels, All dimes, All quarters. Or just see every pog released to date on the same page! (slow loading)

Just browsing? Check out each series released so far one by one. Each series page is complete with a checklist, release data and other good info—along with the pictures, of course!

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

Technical background:
There have been ten series of AAFES pogs released to date.

Series One (No Date/2003)
Total = 3 pogs; one for each denomination.
The first series consisted of one plain design, no picture, for each denomination.
Common Obverse Legend: Denomination in large print, "This gift certificate has a retail value of [5, 10 or 25]¢ and is redeemable only at your BX/PX." below, and the AAFES logo at bottom.
Common Reverse Legend: Denomination in center, "Gift Certificate" above, AAFES logo below.
In every series after the First the reverse is the same: denomination in center, AAFES logo above, "Gift Certificate" below. Each of the following series consist of 12 pogs per denomination, excluding varieties.
Collector's Album
Series Two (No Date/2003)
This second series begins using pictures on the obverse. They are distinguishable from other series in that they do not have a date printed on them.
Common Obverse Legend: "This gift certificate has a retail value of [5, 10 or 25]¢ and is redeemable only at your BX/PX." in small print around the margin, centered at bottom, with the denomination showing in larger print.
Series Three (2003)
The third series brings more pictures and is exactly the same as the second except that the obverse in this series has the year "2003" printed at top.
Series Four (2004)
The fourth series introduces some vintage pictures from past conflicts. In this one the obverse legend changes to clarify the pogs' validity at any AAFES, downrange or at home. The year "2004" is printed at top of these.
Common Obverse Legend: "This gift certificate has a retail value of [5, 10 or 25]¢ and is redeemable at any AAFES facility." (italics indicate new text) in small print around the margin, centered at bottom, with the denomination showing in larger print.
Series Five (2004)
The only feature other than pictures that can distinguish the fifth series from the fourth is the word "AAFES" on the picture side: it is in a slightly larger font (appears almost boldface). This is the last basic design change to date.
Series Six (2005)
This series introduces the Greatest Generation (GG) overprints and features football and Elvis themes.
Series Seven (2005B)
Continuing with the GG theme, this series brings pictures of US Presidents while in service. The other featured theme is a complete run of military sponsored NASCAR drivers. From here on out it looks like AAFES will go steady at two series per year. To distinguish each year's two series, letters are being appended to the dates.
Series Eight (2006A)
NOTE: There were no nickels printed in Series Eight. This series continues to feature military sponsored sports, former presidents in service and includes scenes of military relief operations after Hurricane Katrina.
Series Nine (2006B)
Four coins in each denomination of this series feature pictures submitted by servicemembers in AAFES' Patriot POG Gift Certificate Photo Contest.
Collector's Album (pictured above right)
AAFES began selling an album for soldiers to keep their pogs in sometime around early 2004 (not sure on date). The book consisted of three folding leaves with holes much like the old Whitman coin albums. There are (I believe) 12 slots per page, allowing for a whole series to be kept in one book.

Feature Articles on AAFES pogs:
Archive of pogs being mentioned in Stars & Stripes. (Coming...)
Cardboard Coins for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. The Numismatist, April 2003.
Points about pogs, in Letters. The Numismatist, June 2003.
A little change makes a big difference. Freedom Watch, 6 August 2003.
New Change at Contingency Exchanges. AAFES News Online, January 2004.
Lightweight Convenience. Desert Voice, 3 March 2004.
AAFES necessity becomes collectible craze. Air Force Print News Today, 19 April 2004.
Why does AAFES use plastic discs...? AAFES Public Affairs, Fall 2004.
Marine turns to collecting during deployment. Marine Corps News, 27 September 2004.
I Went to Iraq, and Made a Pile of Money! The Mudville Gazette, 8 December 2004.
Pennies and POGs - the Dollars and Cents of Setting up Shop in a War Zone. AUSA, 7 June 2005.
Where's my slammer? The Iron Soldier, 1 September 2005.
10th Series of AAFES POGs offer moving glimpses into patriotism. AAFES Public Affairs, July 2007.
Die Plastik-Münzen der US-Army in Afghanistan. Münzen & Papiergeld, October 2003.

 

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All pogs on this site are shown in their actual size, 38mm. Click on any image for a larger view.

 

 

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