• seperator

Short snorters aid in exploration

By Mark Hotz

This month, we conclude my series on inscribed currency in my collection. Although I have lots more notes, I choose to illustrate and describe ones that I think will show diversity and be interesting. I have over 100 World War II era “short snorters,” but there would be little purpose in illustrating them all, short of in book format. So this month, I will offer a bit of a “something for everyone” and hope you will enjoy.

Fig. 1: This series of 1874 10 Cent Fractional Currency note features the inscription, “Given to me by Sam ‘l F. Ginsley on the 29th of March 1897.” (All images from the author’s collection)

The first inscription is on the back of a Series of 1874 10 Cent Fractional Currency note, Robert Walker type, Fr. 1265. In careful hand along the top and right side margin is inscribed, “Given to me by Sam‘l F. Ginsley on the 29th of March 1897” [Fig. 1].

Normally, such a note would not tell me much. I don’t know to whom it was given or why. But I bought it, and some internet research provided some valuable information. Samuel F. Ginsley was a resident of Doylestown, the seat of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from 1849 until his death in 1901 at the age of 80. He was born at Philadelphia and owned and lived in three houses in Doylestown, dying in the one on South Main Street that he had purchased at the close of the Civil War. Mr. & Mrs. Ginsley introduced the Christmas tree to Doylestown and were the first to set up one in their own dwelling. For many years, Mr. Ginsley operated a restaurant in Doylestown in a building on the south side of Court St. at the junction of Main.

Fig. 2: This 20 Franc note from the author’s collection provides a unique reflection of a moment in history. Inscribed on this note is “Souvenir pour un camarade americain inconnu” (Souvenir for an unknown American comrade), and it mentions a place at the center of fighting during World War II.

Our second note takes us to the Normandy Invasion of World War II in France. On the back of a French 20 Franc note, issue dated Nov. 5, 1942, is the French inscription, “Souvenir pour un camarade americain inconnu” {Souvenir for an unknown American comrade}. On the face of the note, the writer has signed his name “Roger Lechevalier” and the location “Caen,” the site of heavy fighting during the invasion [Fig. 2].

Fig. 3: This pair of Yen notes, 10 and 5, respectively, are Japanese Imperial Government notes, dating back to World War II. Each note bears a similar inscription that speaks to a Japanese soldier who committed a Japanese ritual suicide known as hari kari.

Our third and fourth notes are a pair that take us across the globe to the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War. These are Japanese Imperial Government 5 and 10 Yen notes in use during the war {P-39 and P-40}. Each has a similar inscription, so I will transcribe just the one written on the back of the 5 Yen note, which contains more detail. It reads, “Taken from Jap officer who committed hari kari on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshalls, 2/2/44” [Fig. 3].

The Battle for Namur Island (also known as Roi-Namur) was part of the Kwajalein campaign from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 1944. The Japanese defenders put up stiff resistance, although outnumbered and under-prepared. The determined defense of Roi-Namur left only 51 survivors of an original garrison of 3,500. The U.S. forces involved the 4th Marine Division and 7th Infantry Division.

Fig. 4: This Soviet Union I Chervonetz note, issued in 1937, features a portrait of Lenin. Across from the portrait is an inscription that speaks to a Russian soldier greeting an American comrade. It’s a rare find.

Our fifth note takes us to the Central European Theatre of the war. It is a Soviet Union 1 Chervonetz note featuring a portrait of Lenin, 1937 issue, P-202. Written in Russian across the face of the note is (translated), “Russian soldier Sviatski, greetings to American comrade.” This note probably emanated from the meeting of Soviet and American forces at the Elbe River in Germany in 1945, though it also could have a later provenance, perhaps in Berlin. It is rare to find World War II inscriptions on Soviet currency [Fig. 4].

Fig. 5: A bet is a bet, and according to the inscription on this note, Sally was the winner of a bet made during the 1945 World Series game between the Cubs and the Tigers.

The following three notes are more of whimsy value, and I thought they were cute enough to include. The sixth note is a Series of 1935-A $1 HAWAII overprint note. The inscription on the face says it all: “Tigers, 10 Oct 1945, with deepest regret I pay this bet to Sally upon the loss of the World Series by the Cubs. K. Price.” The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10, 1945 [Fig. 5].

Fig. 6: The inscription on this 1935 $1 Silver Certificate also represents another winning wager between two betters, dating to 1945.

Our seventh note is in a similar vein, though far more amusing. A Series of 1935-A $1 Silver Certificate is inscribed “Dec. 26, ’45 The First God damnd (sic) bet I ever won from a woman and collected.” It also bears the signature of Mary Santiago, ostensibly the woman who paid the bet [Fig. 6].

Fig. 7: The inscription on this 1935 note begs the questions: Who was Larry? Did he have fun at prom?

Our last note is just poignant, as it represents something most of us went through at one time or another: high school senior prom. A Series of 1935-A $1 Silver Certificate, in pretty crisp condition, bears the simple memory “LARRY GAVE ME 3.00 For PROM TICKETS.” I don’t know when a pair of prom tickets might have cost $3, but it must be during or shortly after World War II. Who was Larry? The brother? A friend? We’ll never know, but the note itself is a reminder of days gone by [Fig. 7].

Readers may address questions or comments about this article to Mark Hotz directly by email at markbhotz@aol.com.


This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.


• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.

• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.

This entry was posted in Articles, General News, News. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Short snorters aid in exploration

  1. JoeyT46 says:

    I found this article to be very informative and interesting, cool stuff.

Leave a Reply