Twenty-cent piece (United States coin)
The American twenty-cent piece is a coin struck from 1875 to 1878, but only for collectors in the final two years. Proposed by Nevada Senator John P. Jones, it proved a failure due to confusion with the quarter, to which it was close in both size and value. In 1874, the newly elected Jones began pressing for a twenty-cent piece, which he stated would alleviate the shortage of small change in the Far West; the bill passed Congress, mint director Henry Linderman ordered pattern coins struck. Linderman decided on an obverse and reverse similar to that of other silver coins. Although the coins have a smooth edge, rather than reeded as with other silver coins, the new piece was close to the size of, confused with, the quarter. Adding to the bewilderment, the obverse, or "heads", sides of both coins were identical. After the first year, in which over a million were minted, there was little demand, the denomination was abolished in 1878. At least a third of the total mintage was melted by the government.
Numismatist Mark Benvenuto called the twenty-cent piece "a chapter of U. S. coinage history that closed before it began". A twenty-cent piece had been proposed as early as 1791, again in 1806, but had been rejected; the 1806 bill, introduced by Connecticut Senator Uriah Tracy, sought both a two-cent piece and a "double dime". It was opposed by mint director Robert Patterson, though his opposition was more to the two-cent piece, which Tracy proposed be struck in billon, low-grade silver that would be difficult to recover when melting the coins; the bill did not pass the House of Representatives. No twenty-cent piece was issued prior to the 1870s, but Americans were familiar with the denomination as the two reales piece struck in Spain, known as a "pistareen" in the United States, passed for twenty cents. Several factors converged to make possible a twenty-cent piece in the 1870s; the first was a shortage of small change in the far West. Government payments in silver and gold had been suspended during the economic chaos caused by the civil war—coins containing precious metal were hoarded except on the Pacific Coast, did not pass at face value in trade.
Although the base-metal nickel was not accepted in the far West, the silver half dime had been struck in increasing numbers at the San Francisco Mint until the silver coin, which did not circulate in the East, was abolished by Congress in 1873. A shortage of small change resulted as half dimes were used in the jewelry trade. Prices in the West were sometimes in bits, adding to the change problem. Numismatist David Lange states that a shipment of nickels out West could have solved everything, but that they might not have been accepted due to the prejudice against money which did not contain precious metal. A second factor was the anxiety of Congress to see more silver made into coin; this was due to pressure from mining and other interests. The Coinage Act of 1873 ended the practice of allowing silver producers to have their bullion struck into silver dollars and returned to them. Although producers had not deposited much silver in the years before 1873 due to high market prices, former mint director Henry Linderman foresaw that those prices would fall as mines became accessible due to the completion of the transcontinental railroad across the United States, that the resultant coinage would inflate the currency.
He urged Congress to end the practice, which it did. Within a year, silver prices had dropped, producers tried vainly to deposit bullion at the mints for conversion into legal tender. Mining interests sought other means of selling silver to the government; the third was American interest in aligning its currency with the Latin Monetary Union and to bring its weights for coinage into the metric system. Several times in the 1860s and 1870s, the United States Mint struck pattern coins that were to be used if America joined, in some cases with the equivalent in foreign money struck as part of the design; the twenty-cent piece was to be equivalent to one French franc in that system, if in proportion to the smaller silver coins being struck, would weigh five grams, a fact which appealed to advocates of the metric system in Congress. Another purpose for a large issue of silver coins, regardless of denomination, was to retire the fractional currency—low-value paper money or "shinplasters". Congress passed legislation in 1876 for large quantities of silver coins for this purpose.
The father of the twenty-cent piece was Nevada Senator John P. Jones. Part-owner of the Crown Point Mine, he had been elected to the Senate in 1873. In advocating for the proposal, he cited the lack of small change in the West, it was endorsed by mint director Linderman. The bill was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 3, 1875. Like other denominations of silver coin, the twenty-cent piece was made legal tender up to five dollars. In anticipation of the approval of the legislation, Linderman had pattern coins prepared. In August 1874, Philadelphia Mint superintendent James Pollock sent him patterns with an obverse showing a seated Liberty by Philadelphia sculptor Joseph A. Bailly with a reverse by chief engraver William Barber. Pollock did n
A double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a denomination of $20. The coins are made from a 90% gold and 10% copper alloy and have a total weight of 1.0750 troy ounces. The "eagle", "half eagle", "quarter eagle" were given these names in the Act of Congress that authorized them; the double eagle was created as such by name in the Coinage Act of 1849. Prior to 1850, eagles with a denomination of $10 were the largest denomination of US coin; the $10 eagles were produced beginning in 1795, just two years after the first U. S. mint opened. Since the $20 gold piece had twice the value of the eagle, these coins were designated "double eagles"; the first double eagle was minted in 1849. In that year, the mint produced two pieces in proof; the first resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.. The second was presented to Treasury Secretary William M. Meredith and was sold as part of his estate—the present location of this coin remains unknown. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt sought to beautify American coinage, proposed Augustus Saint-Gaudens as an artist capable of the task.
Although the sculptor had poor experiences with the Mint and its chief engraver, Charles E. Barber, Saint-Gaudens accepted Roosevelt's call; the work was subject to considerable delays, due to Saint-Gaudens's declining health and difficulties because of the high relief of his design. Saint-Gaudens died in 1907, after designing the eagle and double eagle, but before the designs were finalized for production; the new coin became known as the Saint-Gaudens double eagle. Regular production continued until 1933, when the official price of gold was changed to $35/oz by the Gold Reserve Act; the 1933 double eagle is among the most valuable of U. S. coins, with the sole example known to be in private hands selling in 2002 for $7,590,020. Regular issue double eagles come in two major types and six minor varieties as follows: Liberty head 1849–1907 Liberty head, no motto, value "twenty D." 1849–1866 Liberty head, with motto, value "twenty D." 1866–1876 Liberty head, with motto, value "twenty dollars" 1877–1907 Saint Gaudens' 1907–1933 Saint Gaudens', high relief, Roman numerals, no motto 1907 Saint Gaudens', low relief, Arabic numerals, no motto 1907–1908 Saint Gaudens', low relief, Arabic numerals, with motto 1908–1933 Due to the less desirable artwork and therefore lower demand, liberty coronet $20 gold pieces are less encountered, the common subtype commands less than the St.-Gaudens' type.
In 1866, the motto "In God We Trust" was added to the liberty coronet double eagle, creating a second subtype. In 1877, the coin's denomination design on the reverse was changed from "twenty D" to "twenty dollars" creating a third and final subtype for the series. An 1879 pattern coin was made for the quintuple stella using a design combining features of the liberty head double eagle and stella pattern coin and using the same alloy as the stella; however this coin was stolen in July 2008. The Saint-Gaudens double eagle is named for the designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the premier sculptors in American history. Theodore Roosevelt imposed upon him in his last few years to redesign the nation's coinage at the beginning of the 20th century. Saint-Gaudens' work on the high-relief $20 gold piece is considered to be one of the most extraordinary pieces of art on any American coin; the mint insisted on a low-relief version, as the high-relief coin took up to eleven strikes to bring up the details and did not stack for banking purposes.
Only 12,367 of these coins were struck in 1907. These coins top the $10,000 price in circulated grades, but can reach nearly a half million dollars in the best states of preservation. There were several changes in the early years of this design; the first coins issued in 1907 design featured a date in Roman numerals, but this was changed that year to the more convenient Arabic numerals. The motto "In God We Trust" was omitted from the initial design, as Roosevelt felt that putting the name of God on money that could be used for immoral purposes was inappropriate. By act of Congress, the motto was added in mid-1908; the design of the Saint-Gaudens coin was changed once more when New Mexico and Arizona became states in 1912, the number of stars along the rim was accordingly increased from 46 to 48. Double eagles were minted through 1933, although few of the last years' coinages were released before the gold recall legislation of that year. Accordingly, these issues bring high prices; the Saint-Gaudens obverse design was reused in the American eagle gold bullion coins that were instituted in 1986.
The early 1907 double eagles and the 1986-1991 gold American eagles are the only instances of Roman numerals denoting the date on American coinage. On January 22, 2009, the U. S. Mint released ultra-high relief double eagles using the deep design that Saint-Gaudens envisioned, so that the U. S. Mint could, as its web site states "fulfill Augustus Saint-Gaudens' vision of an ultra high relief coin that could not be realized in 1907 with his legendary Double Eagle liberty design." Despite that claim, the mint reaffirmed just what doomed the first attempts in 1907. The coin's abradable 0.9999 fine gol
The three-cent silver known as the three-cent piece in silver or trime, was struck by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1851 to 1872, as a proof coin in 1873. Designed by the Mint's chief engraver, James B. Longacre, it circulated well while other silver coinage was being hoarded and melted, but once that problem was addressed, became less used, it was abolished by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1873. After a massive importation of gold bullion during the California Gold Rush, silver could be traded for increasing amounts of gold, so U. S. silver coins were melted for their metal. This, the reduction of postage rates to three cents, prompted Congress in 1851 to authorize a coin of that denomination made of.750 fine silver, rather than the conventional.900. The three-cent silver was the first American coin to contain metal valued less than its face value, the first silver coin not to be legal tender for an unlimited amount; the coin saw heavy use until Congress acted again in 1853, making other silver coins lighter, which kept them in circulation.
Congress lightened the three-cent silver, increased its fineness to 900 silver. With the return of other denominations to circulation, the three-cent silver saw less use, its place in commerce was lost with the economic chaos of the American Civil War, which led to hoarding of all gold and silver coins. A three-cent piece in copper-nickel was struck beginning in 1865, the three-cent silver saw low mintages for its final decade before its abolition; the series is not collected, the pieces remain inexpensive relative to other U. S. coins of similar scarcity. Although the Mint of the United States had been striking silver coins since the 1790s, they did not always circulate due to fluctuations in the price of the metal. In 1834, for example, half dollars sold on the market at a premium of one percent; the U. S. was on a bimetallic standard, though Congress had overvalued silver with respect to gold, enough Mexican silver flowed into the country to produce a rough equilibrium. By early 1849, most of the silver coins in circulation were small coins of the Spanish colonial real, including the "levy" and "fip".
The levy and fip passed for twelve and six cents in the Eastern U. S; the mint accepted them as payment at a lower figure, but so, lost money on the transactions as many of the pieces were lightweight through wear. The odd denominations of the levy and fip were a convenience, allowing payment or change to be made without the use of cents, which were at that time large, made of copper, not accepted by the government as legal tender due to their lack of precious metal. In the Western U. S. the levy and fip were accepted as the equivalent of the silver dime and half dime, although the Spanish pieces contained more silver. Bullion from the California Gold Rush and other discoveries came to the Eastern U. S. in considerable quantities beginning in 1848. By the following year, the price of gold relative to silver had dropped, making it profitable to export American silver coins, sell them as bullion, use the payment in gold to buy more U. S. coins. Silver coins vanished from circulation, meaning the highest-value American coin circulating, worth less than the quarter eagle was the half-dollar-sized copper cent, which saw no use in much of the country because of its lack of legal tender status.
Early in 1849, Congress authorized a gold dollar to help bridge the gap. Spanish silver coins were the bulk of what was left in commerce for small change, although there was disagreement as to the value to be assigned to them. Additionally, they were heavily worn, reducing their intrinsic worth at a time when Americans expected coins to contain metal worth the value assigned to them. In 1850, New York Senator Daniel S. Dickinson introduced legislation for a three-cent piece in.750 fine silver, that is, three parts silver to one part copper. He proposed to offer it in exchange for the Spanish silver, which would be valued at eight reals to the dollar for the purpose, higher than the going rate; the new coin would weigh three-tenths as much as the dime, but the debasement of the silver would compensate the government for the losses it would take in redeeming the underweight, worn Spanish coins. The three-cent denomination was chosen as it coordinated well with the six and twelve cent values assigned the fip and levy.
The House of Representatives instead considered legislation to reduce the valuation of the Spanish coins to ten cents per real, to strike a twenty-cent piece, of.900 silver, to facilitate the exchange. Neil Carothers, in his book on small-denomination American money, suggests that the House's plan would have resulted in the Spanish coins staying in circulation, any twenty-cent pieces issued being hoarded or melted. No legislation passed in 1850. Impetus for the passage of a three-cent coin came when Congress, in January 1851, considered reducing postage rates from five cents to three. In 1849, House Committee on Ways and Means chairman, Samuel Vinton, had written to Mint director Robert M. Patterson that his committee was considering both reducing the postage rate and instituting a three-cent coin. Although no legislative action was taken, Patterson had the mint prepare experimental pattern coins; the House committee proposing the 1851 bill included Dickinson's three-cent piece, provided that it be legal tender up to 30 cents.
When the bill was debated in the House on January 13, 1851, New York Congressman William Duer indicated that he felt both coin and stamp should be denominated at 21⁄2 cents, and
The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents minted in the United States. Some numismatists consider the denomination to be the first coin minted by the United States Mint under the Coinage Act of 1792, with production beginning on or about July 1792. However, others consider the 1792 half dime to be nothing more than a pattern coin, or "test piece", this matter continues to be subject to debate; these coins were much smaller than dimes in diameter and thickness, appearing to be "half dimes". In the 1860s, powerful nickel interests lobbied for the creation of new coins, which would be made of a copper-nickel alloy; the introduction of the copper-nickel five-cent pieces made the silver coins of the same denomination redundant, they were discontinued in 1873. The following types of half dimes were produced by the United States Mint or under the authority of the Coinage Act of 1792: The half dime was one of the early coins of the U. S. Mint. Authorized by the Act of April 2, 1792, it lasted until 1873.
Until 1829 it showed no value anywhere on its reverse. The flowing hair half dime was designed by Robert Scot and this same design was used for half dollar and dollar silver coins minted during the same period; the obverse bears a Liberty portrait similar to that appearing on the 1794 half cent and cent but without the liberty cap and pole. Mintage of the 1794 version was 7,765; the obverse of the draped bust half dime was based on a sketch by artist Gilbert Stuart, with the dies engraved by Robert Scot and John Eckstein. The primary 1796 variety bears fifteen stars representing the number of states in the union. In 1797, fifteen and sixteen star varieties were produced – the sixteenth star representing newly admitted Tennessee – as well as a thirteen star variety after the mint realized that it could not continue to add more stars as additional states joined the union; the reverse bears an open wreath surrounding a small eagle perched on a cloud. 54,757 half dimes of this design were minted. Following a two-year hiatus, mintage of half dimes resumed in 1800.
The obverse remained the same as the prior version, but the reverse was revised substantially. The eagle on the reverse now had outstretched heraldic style; this reverse design first appeared on gold quarter and half eagles and dimes and dollars in the 1790s. Mintage of the series never surpassed 40,000, with none produced in 1804. No denomination or mintmark appears on the coins. Production of half dimes resumed in 1829 based on a new design by Chief Engraver William Kneass, believed to have adapted an earlier John Reich design. All coins were display no mintmark; the high circulating mintage in the series was in 1835, when 2,760,000 were struck, the low of 871,000 was in 1837. Both Capped Bust and Liberty Seated half dimes were minted in 1837; these were the last silver. The design features Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield and was first conceived in 1835 used first on the silver dollar patterns of 1836; the series is divided into several subtypes. The first lacks stars on the obverse.
In 1838 a semicircle of 13 stars was added around the obverse border, this basic design was used through 1859. In 1853, small arrows were added to each side of the date to reflect a reduction in weight due to rising silver prices, the arrows remained in place through 1855; the arrows were dropped in 1856, with the earlier design resumed through 1859. In 1860, the obverse stars were replaced with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the reverse wreath was enlarged; this design stayed in place through the end of the series. In 1978 a unique 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime became known; the Seated Liberty half dime was produced at the Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Orleans mints in an aggregate amount of 84,828,478 coins struck for circulation. See United States Seated Liberty coinage. In 1978 a coin collector surprised the coin collecting community with an 1870–S half dime, believed to have been found in a dealer's box of cheap coins at a coin show. According to mint records for 1870, no half dimes had been minted in San Francisco.
At an auction that same year, the 1870-S half dime sold for $425,000. It is believed that another example may exist—along with other denominations minted that year in San Francisco—in the cornerstone of the old San Francisco Mint. In July, 2004, the discovery coin sold for $661,250 in MS-63 in a Stack`s-Bowers auction. Canada once used silver coins of five-cent denomination. Nickel Dime Q. David Bowers, United States Three-Cent and Five-Cent Pieces: An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor. Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1985. US Half Dime information by type. Half Dime Pictures
The gold dollar or gold one-dollar piece is a gold coin, struck as a regular issue by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1849 to 1889. The coin had three types over its lifetime, all designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre; the Type 1 issue has the smallest diameter of any United States coin minted to date. A gold dollar coin had been proposed several times in the 1830s and 1840s, but was not adopted. Congress was galvanized into action by the increased supply of bullion caused by the California gold rush, in 1849 authorized a gold dollar. In its early years, silver coins were being hoarded or exported, the gold dollar found a ready place in commerce. Silver again circulated after Congress in 1853 required that new coins of that metal be made lighter, the gold dollar became a rarity in commerce before federal coins vanished from circulation because of the economic disruption caused by the American Civil War. Gold did not again circulate in most of the nation until 1879. In its final years, it was struck in small numbers.
It was in demand to be mounted in jewelry. The regular issue gold dollar was last struck in 1889. Damaged common date gold dollars tend to be worth anywhere from melt value to about US$110. In proposing his plan for a mint and a coinage system, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1791 proposed that the one-dollar denomination be struck both as a gold coin, as one of silver, representative of the two metals which he proposed be made legal tender. Congress followed Hamilton's recommendation only in part, authorizing a silver dollar, but no coin of that denomination in gold. In 1831, the first gold dollar was minted, at the private mint of Christopher Bechtler in North Carolina. Much of the gold being produced in the United States came from the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, the dollars and other small gold coins issued by Bechtler circulated through that region, were now and seen further away. Additional one-dollar pieces were struck by Christopher's son. Soon after the Bechtlers began to strike their private issues, Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury became an advocate of having the Mint of the United States strike the one-dollar denomination in gold.
He was opposed by Robert M. Patterson. Woodbury persuaded President Andrew Jackson to have pattern coins struck. In response, Patterson had Mint Second Engraver Christian Gobrecht break off work on the new design for the silver one-dollar coin and work on a pattern for the gold dollar. Gobrecht's design featured a Liberty cap surrounded by rays on one side, a palm branch arranged in a circle with the denomination and name of the country on the other. Consideration was given to including the gold dollar as an authorized denomination in the revisionary legislation that became the Mint Act of 1837; the Philadelphia newspaper Public Ledger, in December 1836, supported a gold dollar, stating that "the dollar is the smallest gold coin that would be convenient, as it would be eminently so, neither silver nor paper should be allowed to take its place." After Mint Director Patterson appeared before a congressional committee, the provision authorizing the gold dollar was deleted from the bill. In January 1844, North Carolina Representative James Iver McKay, the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, solicited the views of Director Patterson on the gold dollar.
Patterson had more of Gobrecht's pattern dollar struck to show to committee members, again advising against a coin that if issued would be only about a half inch in diameter. He told Treasury Secretary John C. Spencer that the only gold coins of that size in commerce, the Spanish and Colombian half-escudos, were unpopular and had not been struck for more than twenty years; this seemed to satisfy the committee as nothing more was done for the time, when a gold dollar was proposed again in 1846, McKay's committee recommended against it. Before 1848, record amounts of gold were flowing to American mints to be struck into coin, but the California Gold Rush vastly increased these quantities; this renewed calls for a gold dollar, as well as for a higher denomination than the eagle the largest gold coin. In January 1849, McKay introduced a bill for a gold dollar, referred to his committee. There was much discussion in the press about the proposed coin. McKay amended his legislation to provide for a double eagle and wrote to Patterson, who replied stating that the annular gold dollar would not work, neither would another proposal to have dollar piece consisting of a gold plug in a silver coin.
Gobrecht's successor as chief engraver, James B. Longacre, prepared patterns, including some with a square hole in the middle. McKay got his fellow Democrat, New Hampshire Senator Charles Atherton, to introduce the bill to authorize the gold dollar and the double eagle in the Senate on February 1, 1849—Atherton was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. McKay introduced a version into the House on February 20; the dollar was attacked by congressmen from the Whig Party in the minority, on the grounds that it would be too small, would be counterfeited and in bad light might be mistakenly spent as a half dime, the coins being similar in size. McKay did not resp
Fractional currency referred to as shinplasters, was introduced by the United States federal government following the outbreak of the Civil War. These fractional notes were in use between 21 August 1862 and 15 February 1876, issued in 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50 cent denominations across five issuing periods; the complete type set below is part of the National Numismatic Collection, housed at the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Civil War economy catalyzed a shortage of United States coinage—gold and silver coins were hoarded given their intrinsic bullion value relative to irredeemable paper currency at the time. In late 1861, to help finance the Civil War, the U. S. government borrowed gold coin from New York City banks in exchange for Seven-thirties treasury notes and the New York banks sold them to the public for gold to repay the loan. In December 1861, the Trent Affair shook public confidence with the threat of war on a second front; the United States Department of the Treasury suspended specie payments and banks in New York City stopped redeeming paper money for gold and silver.
In the absence of gold and silver coin, the premium for specie began to devalue paper currency. After the New York banks suspended specie payments the premium on gold rose from 1–3% over paper in early January 1862 to 9% over paper in June 1862, by which time one paper dollar was worth 91.69 cents in gold. This fueled currency speculation, created significant disruption across businesses and trade. Alternate methods of providing small change included the reintroduction of Spanish quarter dollars in Philadelphia, cutting dollar bills in quarters or halves, refusing to provide change, or the issuance of locally issued shinplasters, forbidden by law in many states. Treasurer of the United States Francis E. Spinner has been credited with finding the solution to the shortage of coinage: he created postage currency. Postage currency was the first of five issues of US Post Office fractional paper money printed in 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, 50-cent denominations and issued from 21 August 1862 through 27 May 1863.
Spinner proposed using postage stamps, affixed to Treasury paper, with his signature on the bottom. Based on this initiative, Congress supported a temporary solution involving fractional currency and on 17 July 1862 President Lincoln signed the Postage Currency Bill into law; the intent, was not that stamps should be a circulating currency. The design of the First Issue was directly based on Spinner’s original handmade examples; some varieties had perforated stamp-like edge. While not legal tender, postage currency could be exchanged for United States Notes in $5 lots and were receivable in payment of all dues to the United States, up to $5. Subsequent issues would no longer include images of stamps and were referred to as Fractional Currency. Despite the July 1862 legislation, postage stamps remained a form of currency until postage currency gained momentum in the spring of 1863. In 1863, Secretary Chase asked for a new fractional currency, harder to counterfeit than the postage currency; the new fractional currency notes were different from the 1862 postage currency issues.
They were more colorful with printing on the reverse, several anti-counterfeiting measures were employed: experimental paper, adding surcharges, blue end paper, silk fibers, watermarks to name a few. Fractional currency shields which had single sided specimens were sold to banks to provide a standard for comparison for detecting counterfeits. Postage and fractional currency remained in use until 1876, when Congress authorized the minting of fractional silver coins to redeem the outstanding fractional currency. Inspiration and proof for the First Issue Three people were depicted on fractional currency during their lifetime: Francis E. Spinner, William P. Fessenden, Spencer M. Clark. Both Spinner and Clark decided to have their portrait depicted on currency, which created controversy. Republican Representative Martin R. Thayer of Pennsylvania was an outspoken critic, suggesting that the Treasury's privilege of portrait selection for currency was being abused. On 7 April 1866, led by Thayer, Congress enacted legislation stating "that no portrait or likeness of any living person hereafter engraved, shall be placed upon any of the bonds, notes, fractional or postal currency of the United States."
On the date of passage, the plates for the 15-cent note depicting William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant had not been completed and thus fell under the scope of the new law; the Sherman-Grant notes exist only as specimens. Federal Reserve System List of people on United States banknotes Shinplaster Treasury Note United States postal notes
Hawaii overprint note
A Hawaii overprint note is one of a series of banknotes issued during World War II as an emergency issue after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The intent of the overprints was to distinguish US currency captured by Japanese forces in the event of an invasion of Hawaii and render the bills useless. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, military officials surmised that in the event of an invasion of Hawaii, Japanese forces would have access to a considerable amount of US currency that could be seized from financial institutions or private individuals. Faced with this scenario, on January 10, 1942, Military Governor Delos Carleton Emmons issued an order to recall all regular US paper money in the islands, save for set caps on how much money both individuals and businesses could possess at any time. On June 25, 1942, new overprinted notes were first issued. Series 1935A $1 silver certificate, Series 1934 $5 and $20 Federal Reserve Notes, Series 1934A $5, $10, $20 Federal Reserve Notes from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco were issued with brown treasury seals and serial numbers.
Overprints of the word HAWAII were made. The hope was that should there have been a Japanese invasion, the US government could declare any Hawaii-stamped notes worthless, due to their easy identification. With this issue, military officials made the use of non-overprinted notes redundant and ordered all Hawaii residents to turn in unstamped notes for Hawaii-stamped notes by July 15. Starting from August 15, 1942, no other paper currency could be used except under special permission. Faced with a $200 million stockpile of US currency, military officials opted to destroy all the recalled currency instead of overcoming the logistical problems of shipping the currency back to the mainland. At first, a local crematorium was pressed into service to burn the notes. To ensure complete destruction, a fine mesh was placed on the top of the smokestacks to catch and recirculate unburnt scraps of currency escaping the fire. Progress on the destruction was slow, pressed with time, the bigger furnaces of the Aiea sugar mill were requisitioned to help burn the currency.
The notes and issuance continued in use until October 21, 1944. Many notes were saved as souvenirs by servicemen. Of the series, the $5 note is considered the most desirable, as a little over 9 million examples were printed. Over 35 million $1 notes were made, making them the most common of the series. Star notes exist for all the notes, command a sizable premium. Budnick, Rich. Hawaii's Forgotten History: the good...the bad...the embarrassing. Aloha Press. ISBN 0-944081-04-5. Friedberg, Arthur L. & Ira S. The Official Red Book. A Guide Book Of United States Paper Money: Complete Source for History and Prices Whitman Publishing ISBN 0-7948-2362-9 Simpson, MacKinnon. Hawaii Homefront: Life in the Islands during World War II. Bess Press. ISBN 978-1-57306-281-7