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The Mount of Piety

La Commune de Paris. Saturday, May 6, 1871. A decree of the Commune de Paris authorizes the free return of items deposited at the Mount of Piety that have a value of less than 20 francs.

The Mount of Piety is a private, shareholder-based institution, with more than twenty locations in Paris, and produces substantial earnings. The institution contributes to the financing of public assistance, but in reality it is a lucrative speculation on the backs of the very poor. Those in need of money bring in an object, for example worth 10 francs, leave it as a pledge and receive 1 or 2 francs. Then within a certain time he can redeem it by paying an interest ranging from 12% to 15%. If he doesn't redeem it in time his object will be sold.

In the previous very cold winter, during the Prussian siege of Paris, eighty thousand blankets were blocked at the pawnshops, along with another million objects. The annual loans are one and a half million, of which one million, two thirds, are loans between 3 and 10 francs.

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