A friend has a $1 silver certificate with the word HAWAII printed
twice on the face and once across the back.
Is this something special?
Your friend has a Series 1935A $1 silver certificate.
This is an emergency note issued by the United States during World
War II. It looks exactly like any other $1 silver certificate except
for two things.
One, it has the word HAWAII overprinted twice on the face and once
across the back of the note.
Two, it has a brown U.S. Treasury seal and serial numbers (regular
issue silver certificates had blue seals and serial numbers).
After the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii,
Treasury Department officials decided that if enemy armed forces
successfully occupied the Hawaiian Islands, any paper currency in
circulation needed to be distinctly identified.
If that happened, the U.S. government could revoke the legal
tender status of those notes. The notes would become useless as
currency, preventing the Japanese, German or Italian armed forces from
using captured notes in any financial warfare.
The overprinted notes were released into circulation in July 1942,
and only these notes were acceptable in the islands after Aug. 15, 1942.
At first, regulations prohibited the notes from circulating
outside Hawaii, but all restrictions on using the currency outside the
islands were lifted in 1944. The notes often turned up in circulation
on the mainland after the war and were distinctive enough for many
people to pull them out of circulation as keepsakes.
These notes are highly collectible. Your friend’s note appears to
be in Fine to Very Fine condition, worth $45 to $50, according to Coin
World’s Paper Money Values.
Ultimately the value (above face value) of any collectible coin or
note is what a buyer and seller can agree upon.
The $1 silver certificates with the HAWAII overprints were not the
only emergency issues produced by the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing. Series 1934 and 1934A $5 Federal Reserve notes, Series 1934A
$10 Federal Reserve notes and Series 1934 and 1934A $20 Federal
Reserve notes also had the overprints.
In addition, the BEP printed $1, $5 and $10 silver certificates
with gold Treasury seals. These notes were issued to U.S. forces
serving in Europe and North Africa.
Like the HAWAII-overprinted notes, these notes could be identified
and declared worthless if they fell into the hands of an enemy.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from Coin
World. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins.
Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
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