For a brief time in 1933, a “couple of clams” might get you a meal or some groceries or even a box of cigars. During a multi-day, nationwide bank holiday — imposed by President Roosevelt to help stabilize the nation’s financial system in early March 1933 — clams were currency in Pismo Beach, California. “A handful of local businesses in Pismo Beach and nearby Crescent City agreed that when change in dollars or cents wasn’t available, they would issue shells to customers instead.”


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