20 Dollars Federal Reserve Note; Brown Seal - Hawaii


Issuer Hawaii (United States)
Period Territory of Hawaii (1900-1949)
Type Standard banknote
Year 1934
Value 20 Dollars (20 USD)
Currency Dollar (1785-date)
Composition Paper
Size 155 × 66 mm
Shape Rectangular
Demonetized 21 October 1944
Number N# 202426
Numista type number (https://en.numista.com/help/what-is-the-n-number-visible-in-the-catalogue-33.html)
References P# 41
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Modern issues 1961-present (25th edition). Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin, USA.
And 2 more volumes.


Oval frame with the portrait of President Andrew Jackson, text "Federal Reserve Note"; "The United States of America" two small black "HAWAII" overprints on the left and right corners on the front of the note; legal tender clause "This Note is Legal Tender for all debts, public and private, and is redeemable for lawful money at the United States Treasury or at any Federal Reserve Bank."; "Will Pay to the Bearer on Demand Twenty Dollars".


Image of the White House; large outlined "HAWAII" lettering on the back; text "The United States of America"; "Twenty Dollars".


William Alexander Julian (WAJ) Treasurer of the United States
Henry Morgenthau (HM) Secretary of the Treasury


After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, military officials surmised that in the event of an invasion of Hawaii, Imperial Japanese forces would have access to a considerable amount of U.S. currency that could be seized from financial institutions and private individuals. Face with this scenario, on January 10, 1942, Military Governor Delos Carleton Emmons issued an order to recall all regular U.S. currency in the islands, save for set caps on how much money both individuals (up to a maximum of $200) and businesses (up to a maximum of $500; save extra currency for payroll purposes) could possess at any time.
On June 25, 1942, new overprinted notes were issued into circulation, with one issue consisting of Series 1934 and 1934A $20 Federal Reserve Notes from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The notes were issued with brown Treasury Seal and serial numbers, with two small HAWAII overprints to the sides of the front of the notes and a large outlined "HAWAII" lettering dominating the reverse. The hope was that should there been an Imperial Japanese invasion of Hawaii, the United States government could immediately declare any Hawaii-stamped notes worthless, due to their easy identification.
With this issue, military officials made the use of non-overprinted notes redundant and ordered all Hawaii residents to turn in unstamped notes for Hawaii-stamped notes by July 15. Starting from August 15, 1942, no other paper currency could be used except under special permission.
Faced with a $200 million stockpile of U.S. currency, military officials opted to destroy all the recalled currency instead of overcoming the logistical problems of shipping the currency back to the mainland. At first, a local crematorium was pressed into service to burn the notes. To ensure complete destruction, a fine mesh was placed on the top of the smokestacks to catch and recirculate unburnt scraps of currency escaping the fire.
Progress on the destruction was slow, and pressed with time, the bigger furnaces of the Aiea sugar mill were requisitioned to help burn the currency.
The notes and issuance continued in use until October 21, 1944;  by April 1946, notes were being recalled, but are still legal tender at face value. Many notes were saved as curios and souvenirs by servicemen.

See also

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Date Signatures No. printed VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1934  WAJ, HM 11 246 000 10% Series of 1934: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
1934  WAJ, HM 54 500 0% Series of 1934: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. *Star Note
1934  WAJ, HM 3 500 000 90% Series of 1934A: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Frequencies show the percentage of Numista users who own each year or variety among all the users who own this banknote. Since some users own several versions, the sum may be greater than 100%.

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