|"Dollars" redirects here. This page is about the NCR currency. For an overview of currency in all Fallout games, see Currency.|
|This is an overview article, focusing on background information and cross-game comparisons.|
The NCR introduced its own money around the turn of the 22nd century and initially it relied on coins minted from gold. By 2241, the economy of NCR dominated the West Coast and coins became universal currency, used by the three regional powers: NCR, Vault City and New Reno. During this time bottle caps had become worthless in these regions.[Non-game 1]
During the conflict with the Brotherhood the Republic's gold reserves were attacked by Brotherhood raids to the point where new gold coins could not be minted and paper money could not be properly backed with gold. NCR citizens panicked and rushed to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's remaining gold reserves. Since the NCR was unable to realize these withdrawals, particularly towards the frontier, faith in their currency considerably dropped. To protect against actual economic collapse, the NCR government abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, not payable in specie.[Non-game 1] Since then many wastelanders lost faith in it as a medium of worth, both as a result of it not being backed by anything but the government's word and the inevitable inflation.[Non-game 2] In response to the loss of faith, merchant consortiums of the Hub re-established their own currency, the venerable bottle cap, backing it with water (exchanging a standardized measure of water for caps).[Non-game 3][Non-game 4]
By 2281, the NCR dollar is valued at about 40% of a water-backed cap and only 10% of a silver Legion Denarius. In the Mojave Wasteland, these notes can be seen in the $5, $20, and $100 denominations. The notes are issued by the Republic Reserve Bank located in Angel's Boneyard. In 2281, the current Treasurer of the Republic and head of the NCR Treasury is John Michael Henderton; his signature can be found on the front face of all NCR notes found in the Mojave Wasteland.
Sub-$1 denominations are used by the Republic, but do not appear in any of the released games for gameplay reasons.[Non-game 5]
$1 appears as a gold coin. It is also circulated as a bill, but it does not appear in any games as an item for gameplay reasons.[Non-game 5]
$5 appears as a paper bill similar to a US $5 bill. It features a picture of Aradesh on the face of the bill and a landscape image of the Shady Sands on the back.
$20 appears as a paper bill similar to a US $20 bill. It features a picture of First Ranger Seth on the face of the bill and two pieces of New California Ranger insignias on the back.
$100 appears as a paper bill similar to a US $100 bill. It features a picture of President Tandi on the face of the bill and an image of Tandi addressing a crowd on the back.
While post-endgame play for Fallout: New Vegas was being considered, J.E. Sawyer intended to have NCR release a commemorative $500 bill depicting President Aaron Kimball or Chief Hanlon in the event of NCR victory at the dam.[Non-game 6]
- Vault City travel log: "The territories of NCR are located far to the south of Vault City. Trades mechanical equipment, gold, and various surplus products in exchange for Vault City medical technology. "
Note: Only the NCR trades in gold; other cities - Redding and New Reno - trade in gold ore, indicating NCR processing.
- Fallout 2 manual: "Not all trade is done by pure barter. Some of the towns are printing money again. Money makes a great way to store lots of value, since it is very lightweight and takes up no real room in your inventory. When you have the chance, convert your heavy loot into portable cash."
Note: This is cross-referenced with the later reference where Joshua Sawyer states that BoS raided NCR's gold reserves until NCR could no longer generate gold coinage, explaining the origin of the gold coins in Fallout 2.
- All paper bills state Not Payable in Specie"
- The Courier: "You don't get paid in caps?"
Chomps Lewis: "Nope. The NCR's been trying to switch over to using paper money, like in the Pre-War days. Trouble is that the exchange rates ain't exactly fair. For example, a hundred bucks in NCR money is valued at roughly half that in caps around here. Seems like a rotten deal for us, but work is work."
(Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
- Appearance of NCR dollar bills.
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "And this is discussed in-game: BoS raided NCR's gold reserves until NCR could no longer generate gold coinage nor back their paper money. They abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, which is why its value is inflated over both caps and (especially) Legion coinage. (...) People in eastern NCR and the Mojave Wasteland lost faith in the NCR government's a) ability to back the listed value of paper money and b) stability overall. If you're living in Bakersfield, staring at a piece of paper that says "redeemable for value in gold" and you have no faith in the government's ability or willingness to do that -- or if you see that the government has changed the currency to say that it is not able to be exchanged for a backed good -- you may very well listen to the strong consortium of local merchants offering to exchange that paper note for currency backed by water."
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "Traders from the Mojave travel the Short Loop into NCR, which means that they have to go through a few hundred miles of solid desert. Carrying enough water to travel from New Vegas to the Boneyard (or vice versa) would undercut cargo capacity significantly. Even the communities around the Mojave Wasteland (other than New Vegas itself) have water brought in and stored in local towers. Of course, the Colorado River is nearby as long as you don't mind walking through an active war zone."
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "'How does the Hub 'back' caps? Can you exchange a certain number of caps for a standard measure of water?' Yes."
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "It happened during the BoS-NCR war. I believe Alice McLafferty mentions it, but I'm not positive. She doesn't detail the events in this much detail, but here they are:
The attacks caused NCR citizens (and others who held NCR currency) to panic, resulting in a rush to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's gold reserves. Inability to do this at several locations (especially near the periphery of NCR territory where reserves were normally low) caused a loss of faith in NCR's ability to back their currency.
Though NCR eventually stopped the BoS attacks, they decided to protect against future problems by switching to fiat currency. While this meant that BoS could no longer attack a) reserves or b) the source of production (all NCR bills are made in the Boneyard), some people felt more uneasy about their money not having any "real" (backed) value. This loss of confidence increased with NCR inflation, an ever-looming spectre of fiat currency.
Because the Hub links NCR with the Mojave Wasteland and beyond, the merchants there grew frustrated with NCR's handling of the currency crisis. They conspired to re-introduce the bottle cap as a water-backed currency that could "bridge the gap" between NCR and Legion territory. In the time leading up to the re-introduction, they did the footwork to position themselves properly. If some old-timer had a chest full of caps, they didn't care (in fact, they thought that was great, since the old-timers would enthusiastically embrace the return of the cap), but they did seek to control or destroy production facilities and truly large volumes of caps (e.g. Typhon's treasure) whenever possible."
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "Also, there are denominations of currency that we don't show/use in game because there's simply no need (e.g. NCR $1 bills and sub-$1 coinage)."
- Joshua Sawyer on Something Awful Forums: "Side note: in the olden days when we planned to support post-Hoover play, I did want to introduce two new forms of currency in the event that the player supported an NCR or Legion victory: an NCR $500 bill with either President Kimball or Chief Hanlon on it, depending on the ending, and something commemorating the Courier on the back, also a Legion double aureus (worth 200 caps) commemorating the Courier on the back and conquered General Oliver on the front (in the style of Vercingetorix on Roman coins following Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul)."