Editor's note: The following is the third of a four-part Coin
World series about propaganda notes prepared by Michele Orzano for
the July 2014 monthly edition of Coin World.
Other posts in the series include:
Something as simple as scribbling a political or social slogan on a
piece of cash places the note into the broad category of propaganda
notes. That broad category includes everything from deliberate
messages to undermine a nation during wartime to using a
note-look-alike design to catch the eye of a potential customer when
advertising a business or service.
Genuine and facsimile U.S. and world notes have been widely used to
spread propaganda for decades.
Collecting these items makes for a fun jaunt off the traditional
'Short snorters' promote simply being alive
All around the world, placing messages on paper money was a special
way for military forces to create an instant souvenir. Those notess,
known as short snorters, fall into the broad category of propaganda notes.
Communication is defined as the process of relaying information, and
these types of notes convey a definite ‘I was there’ message.
Sometimes the messages on short snorters seem to affirm the very act
of being alive and wanting to brag about it or serve as a way to
remember a specific event.
A short snorter is a note signed by various persons traveling
together or who met up at different events, and the note records the
meeting, according to the website for The Short Snorter Project,
www.shortsnorter.org. The website tells the
story of the tradition, which started in the 1920s, and which once
involved alcohol and IOUs. The notion of collecting such monetary
remembrances spread throughout the U.S. armed forces and was
particularly popular during World War II.
A Series 1935A $2 silver certificate bearing a wide variety of
handwritten signatures on the back illustrates this story. This “short
snorter” may well have been signed on Aug. 20, 1945, by members of a
crew of a U.S. aircraft, or U.S. Navy sailors and U.S. Marines
stationed aboard a U.S. Navy ship.
This note, graded by the auction firm as Very Fine-Extremely Fine,
was sold for $25 on Jan. 14, 2014, by Heritage Auctions as part of a
three-item lot including another $1 silver certificate “short snorter”
and a 3-inch by 5-inch card autographed by former U.S. Treasurer
Romana Acosta Banuelos.
“Short snorters” provide a personal connection to a time in history
and are readily available. Though condition may never approach
pristine, it’s the history behind the pieces that makes them interesting.