Virtual Museum Banknote: United States 1 dollar - North Africa - Posted: 9.30.07
The Short Snorter Project
Banknote: United States 1 dollar Silver Certificate with yellow seal - Submitted by: Stan Sunde (eBay userid "bidhigh")
This is an emergency note issued during World War II for use with the Armed Forces in Europe and North Africa. They
were issued in 1, 5, and 10 dollar denominations.
Received an email from Short Snorter Project website visitor, Paul R. Rowe, which reads...
Not sure if this is info you already have or not. I didn't dig too deeply into your website but there was mention that not
a lot is known how the practice started. Anyway, I'm currently reading a book from WWII that has an essay about the
practice and its beginning. The book is the reason I Googled the term. I never heard of it before. The book is Once
There Was a War. It is a collection of dispatches by John Steinbeck when he was reporting on the war. I have a
paperback published by Bantam Books. The dispatches were originally serialized in the NY Herald Tribune in 1943.
They were first collected and published by Viking in 1958. In the Bantam 50 edition I have, the short snorter essay
appears on page 98 and is a dispatch dated September 2, 1943, somewhere in Africa. He says it started with
trans-Atlantic air travel as a joke. The new crosser of the Atlantic (the passenger) would have a bill signed by the
crew. They would be expected to carry it with them and produce it on demand. If they failed they owed a dollar to
each person present. I assume they only owed the short snorters present a dollar each (just like the current
practice with challenge coins requires the person who fails to produce one to buy each other person that produces a
challenge coin a drink). He says that as the war brought more and more people across the ocean the practice
expanded and diluted to include almost everyone that crossed the ocean (not just those that flew) and became a
version of an autograph book. A single bill was added to with other dollars and sometimes foreign currency. He also
says that $20s and sometimes $100 bills were used. He also says there were places of honor (under Morgantheau's
signature) and other blank spaces for important signatures. Sorry if you've heard all this before but it wasn't clear on
your website. The essay is pretty obscure. 3 pages in a 200 page book possibly last published during the 60s.
Anyway I hope this helps.