Found at the Vancouver Coin Show - June 29-30, 2002

My first find from the show is a really neat short snorter. I was able to figure out that it was signed while on board a PAN AM flying boat on the Miami - Rio run of 9-21-1943. What is really cool is that the plane's airframe number is given as NC 34947. You have to wonder who these folks were to be traveling from Miami to Rio during WWII — probably some very interesting stories there. It was a real bargain, in excellent condition, and I am delighted to have it in my collection.

Short Snorter Obverse

Short Snorter Reverse


Wright Flyer Fob
The second is really cool too. It is a watch fob with the Wright Flyer on it. The condition is choice, brand new with some wonderful copper patina. The scan does it no justice. This piece has to be from a collection as it has ascension numbers on the reverse. I doubt it was ever used as there is no wear whatsoever on this piece. I also picked up another piece from the same dealer which has ascension numbers as well.

As many of you know, I do selectively collect air and space related numismatic memorabilia. These are very welcome additions to my collection.

All in all, the Arnie show of June 29-30 was a good one for picking up cool stuff as a collector and dealer.

Ae3 Coinage / L&S Agency, Inc.

503 579 6416

What is a Short Snorter?

Here are three comments on the origins of the term "Short Snorter". These were found by surfing the web.


Not very many pilots had then flown the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans; those that had started up the Short-Snorter Club. Each member carried a dollar bill on which was written his name and the fact that he was a Short-Snorter. If it so happened that one or two members were gathered together and one failed to produce his bill, he then had to buy drinks for all present. Short-Snorters meeting for the first time would not only challenge, but also sign each others' dollar bill.


During World War II, a short snorter was a little less than a full drink at a bar. But an aircrew member's short snorter was a chain of paper currency, taped together, end-to-end, from various countries they had visited. The longer your short snorter, the more countries you had visited. Long short-snorters also meant free drinks at the bar, since the person with the shortest one had to buy the round, says retired Lt. Col. Edward J. Komyati, an aviation historian and former WW II pilot.


Allied soldiers would have currency signed by comrades, much like an autograph book. As one note was filled, another would be connected to the first (usually by tape), with more added as needed. A 10 foot long "train" of notes was being uncommon. This tradition began during World War I, heightened during World War II, and was carried on into the Korean War.

A "snorter" is a drink of liquor, usually swallowed in one quick gulp. A "short snorter" is a drink of liquor that's not quite full. This term was adopted by the soldiers as the nickname for these notes.




NC 34947

Dear Mr. Gaye:

We received your e-mail communication of July 6, 2002, in which you requested assistance in identifying a Pan American Airways aircraft circa September 21, 1943, for which you had only the U.S. civil registration NC-34947.

The aircraft in question was a Douglas DC-3A-438 which Pan Am acquired new via the Defense Plants Corporation (a wartime U.S. governmental agency charged with seeing to the distribution of aircraft to meet war requirements) on September 9, 1942. It passed to Pan American's Venezuelan affiliate Avensa on April 20, 1945, where it received the Venezuelan registration YV-AVC (later YV-C-AVC). This airline sold the aircraft to Taxi Aereo Opita, a Colombian airline, in October 1960, where it was registered as HK-556. It was subsequently owned in Colombia by a private citizen, Sra. Hortensia Jaimes and then Taxi Aereo El Venado (circa 1973) but crashed while in service with that carrier April 10, 1977 at La Rribe, 60 miles south west of Villavicencio, Colombia.

We hope this information will prove of interest.


Dan Hagedorn
Research Team Leader
Archives Division - MRC 322 National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC 20560-0322



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