PMG Registry News

Posted on 10/20/2015

History of the Hawaii Small Size Emergency Notes.

Featured Set — Small Size Emergency Notes — Hawaii Denomination Set

What are these unique notes, and how did they come to be issued? These notes came about as a result of US government concern during WWll. The US government feared that the Germans would potentially seize large amounts of cash, specifically in N. Africa and in Hawaii. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the fears arose quickly. In 1942, military Governor Delos Emmons ordered a recall of the majority of money circulating in Hawaii.

On June 25, 1942, new overprint notes were first released. These came in the form of $1 Silver Certificates and $5, $10, and $20 Federal Reserve Notes. They were distinguished by brown serial numbers and seals, two smaller overprints of “HAWAII” on the obverse and a distinct, large “HAWAII” overprint on the reverse.

$5 1934 Hawaii - WWII Emergency Issue Note, front

$5 1934 Hawaii - WWII Emergency Issue Note, back

The US intention was that they could easily identify these notes if they were, in fact, seized by the Germans. In that case, they would be immediately declared as worthless.

For the $1 Silver Certificate, special paper was tested during this time, as well. Notes with the special paper are distinguished by an “S” in the lower right corner. Notes printed on the regular paper are distinguished by an “R” in the same corner. Over 1.1 million of each type was issued and can still be found in circulation today. The issuance of the Hawaii overprints ended in 1944.

The PMG Registry currently has 98 total sets of this type registered. Please click below to see PMG graded examples of these distinctive and historic notes:

Hawaii and North Africa Small Size Emergency Notes

If you're not familiar with the PMG Registry, take some time to explore it, and see the many collecting options that are available. It is completely complimentary. Currency collectors can arrange Signature Sets based upon individual, personal collecting criteria, or complete existing competitive sets. Tracking inventory is easier than ever, and with expansive slideshow and gallery views, your treasured collection can be fully viewable and well organized. Do you need help? Click below for our help links:


Do you have newly encapsulated US or world notes that need a home in the PMG Registry? Shoot us an email, and let us know exactly what your needs are. We look forward to seeing your notes in the PMG Registry. Reach us easily via email at

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