On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In the aftermath of the attack, the United States government faced a unique challenge in Hawaii.
With the threat of Japanese invasion looming, it was necessary to distinguish American currency in the islands from potentially counterfeit Japanese currency.
The solution was the creation of the Hawaii overprint note, a series of banknotes with a distinctive overprint that allowed them to be easily identified as genuine US currency.
The design of the Hawaii overprint note was simple but effective. The overprint, which read “HAWAII” in bold letters, was added to the front and back of the banknotes.
The design of the notes themselves was based on the Series 1935A Silver Certificates, with the exception of the overprint.
The notes were issued in denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20, and were produced in three different series: 1935A, 1935B, and 1935C.
Despite being a wartime necessity, the Hawaii overprint note quickly became a sought-after item among collectors.
The limited number of notes in circulation, coupled with their unique design, made them an instant collector’s item.
Today, Hawaii overprint notes are considered one of the rarest and most valuable pieces of US currency.
The attack on Pearl Harbor has played a significant role in the history and legacy of the Hawaii overprint note. The notes were created in response to the attack, and their design and production were closely tied to the war effort.
The notes themselves bear the name “HAWAII” in bold letters, a reminder of the location where the US suffered one of its most devastating military defeats.
The rarity and value of the Hawaii overprint note is directly related to its historical significance. A pristine $20 Hawaii overprint note from the 1935A series, for example, can fetch upwards of $100,000 at auction. Even lower denominations, such as the $1 note, can command prices in the tens of thousands of dollars.
But the value of the Hawaii overprint note goes beyond its monetary worth. As a unique piece of numismatic history tied to one of the most significant events in American history, the note has captured the attention of collectors and historians alike.
The creation of the note during World War II, and its continued relevance to the study of US currency and wartime propaganda, make it a valuable piece of cultural heritage.
The Hawaii overprint note is a fascinating piece of US currency that continues to captivate collectors and historians. Its design, rarity, and historical significance make it a unique and valuable addition to any collection.
Whether for its monetary value or its cultural importance, the Hawaii overprint note is a piece of numismatic history that is forever tied to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the broader history of World War II.