Dr. Sol Taylor

Short Snorter
This short snorter, a British 10 Shilling note, was signed at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Admiral Louis Mountbatten and Gens. George Marshall, Henry "Hap" Arnold and George Patton, among others. It resides in the Library of Congress.
What is a Short Snorter?

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, November 10, 2007

uring World War II, especially in the Pacific theater, American servicemen would often use a piece of paper money to sign their name, and when it was full, they could tape it to a second (or third or fourth) note and continue the process.
    These World War II souvenirs show up in swap meets, coin shows, and of course online at various auction sites. One site showed a few pieces including a Hawaii $1 overprint that went for $35 and a Chinese note that went for $50. Prices do not seem to vary much above or below these figures.
    Since each note is unique, the only additional value would be the signature of a prominent person, an historical event, or a significant writing such as a patriotic poem or song.
    United States notes other than $1 bills are much scarcer and bring a higher premium in online auctions and at coin shows. The really high-value notes such as $20 and $50 are unknown, since in 1942-1945, few servicemen could afford to have one in his wallet.
    Most short snorter bills are single notes, and a few examples consist of as many as five notes taped end-to-end. With diligence, one could probably track down the actual persons on such notes from World War II-era service records under the Freedom of Information Act. Since most signatories are probably no longer living and those who do survive are well over 80 years of age, finding survivors would be a real challenge. Without dates on most notes or locations, the actual site of origination would e hard to pin down. (In 2007, the government made most individual service records from World War II available for public viewing for the first time — but for now, such viewing must be done in person in Washington, D.C.)
    From all of the various notes seen, apparently the process originated in the Pacific theater and the notes are from that arena. By Googling "short snorter," you can find many references to similar pieces on auction site, and stories reflected in one or more such notes.

    Dr. Sol Taylor of Sherman Oaks is president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors and author of The Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent. Click here for ordering information.