Reverse of the $1 Silver Certificate Short Snorter

Have you ever been searching for a collectible that you stumbled over something so neat that you had to buy it? In September, I was searching the Lyn Knight Currency Auction for a scarce National Bank Note issued by a bank that was once in the hamlet where I grew up when I found a short snorter on a $1 Hawaii overprint note.

A short snorter is a banknote signed by people meeting or traveling together. Although the practice is said to have started in 1925 by Alaskan bush pilots, it became popular during World War II. Soldiers would have a banknote, usually a $1 bill, and have people they meet sign the note. Some soldiers used local currencies to remember where they met the people who signed the notes.

Short snorters are interesting. There is a story behind every note. Even if you do not know who the signatures belong to, it is interesting to think about their stories. If that is not enough, to have a short snorter on a Hawaii overprint note makes it very interesting.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve issued notes with HAWAII on the front and overprinted on the back. The notes were issued so that if Japan invaded Hawaii, the government could remove their legal tender status, making them worthless.

Treasury issued the $1 silver certificate in June 1942. Later, the Federal Reserve issued $5, $10, and $20 Federal Reserve Notes. By August 1942, there were enough notes that the military ordered residents to exchange old currency for the new Hawaii overprint notes.

The U.S. government recalled Hawaii overprint notes in April 1946. Locals continued to use them for a few years since they retained their legal tender status. Some notes survived as souvenirs.

$1 Silver Certificate with the Hawaii overprint used as a short snorter.

The note I purchased from LKCA has four signatures that have faded with time. The handwriting is not legible, making it challenging to make out the names. Who were these guys?

Since the notes were first issued in 1942, withdrawn in 1946, and VJ Day is August 15, 1945, it gives us the period and location for this meeting. Unless someone can read the handwriting, that is all we know.

Was this the souvenir of a last drink by four soldiers before being discharged after the war? Maybe it was their last meeting before a battle or after surviving whatever the Japanese tried to throw at them. Or was it an acknowledgment of friendship?

The note was likely found by a relative of a deceased World War II veteran who put it back in collector circulation. Its story passed along with that veteran. On its current stop in the collecting continuum, I am honored to hold a piece of their heroic history.

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