Coin Lore column from the July 18, 2016, Weekly issue of
I’m a coin guy. Paper money always struck me as flat. But that’s
changing. After seeing researcher Peter Huntoon give a presentation on
national bank notes a couple years ago, I joined the Society of Paper Money Collectors.
The first thing I do when the SPMC’s Paper Money journal
arrives is turn to the “Uncoupled” feature by Joe Boling, the American Numismatic
Association chief exhibit judge, and Fred Schwan, the force behind
In the May-June issue, Boling writes about counterfeit chits from a
Japanese POW camp on Taiwan, finding obscurity within obscurity.
Schwan writes about military payment certificate coupons — coupons
that had to be tendered along with MPCs as payment at base exchanges
by Korean and Thai solders during the Vietnam War. I now know that
blue “han” seals on Taiwan POW scrip are suspect and that the U.S.
military used an adjunct to MPCs to thwart black market operations.
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The magazine properly has numerous articles about mainstream
currency collecting, but it also is sprinkled with sparkling articles
from the hobby’s side roads.
In the May-June issue, Rick Melamed wrote about the use of postage
notes as stamps on letters. Postage notes, the first issue of
fractional currency, pictured actual postage stamps on the face.
In time for Halloween last year, Pam and David Stitely wrote about
Germany’s 1922 “vampire notes.” The main vignette of the 10,000-mark
note is drawn from Albrecht Dürer’s circa-1500 Portrait of a Young Man.
The Stitelys wrote, “When the engraver made the plates, he added
extra lines to the neck that resulted in the nickname ‘The Vampire
Note.’ When turning the note on its side, you can see a vampire
sucking on the neck of the young man. This was to show Germany being
sucked dry by the massive reparations” that the Allies imposed after
World War I.
Huntoon, who frequently writes for the magazine on mainstream
topics, knows a story when he sees one, and every now and then treats
readers to a tale.
In last year’s July-August issue, he wrote about “King City,
Missouri, Blood Money.”
High-grade large-size notes of the First National Bank of King City,
he wrote, were likely stolen from hoarder Mary Hammer when she was
murdered in 1949.
The journal comes with membership in the Society of Paper Money
Collectors. In the United States, dues are $20 a year for members who
want an online subscription and $39 for those (me) who want a print journal.
Either way, it’s a bargain.