I recently noticed that Amazon Prime had added Space 1999 to their lineup and as a child who both watched the program, had the toys, and later collected the trading cards I decided to watch the series again. Of course the many years between those fond memories and now I found the premise of our moon being pulled violently away from earthā€™s orbit to travel madly across space encountering other planets along the way, well it almost sets my teeth on edge. I know it is supposed to be entertainment so I try to push aside what I know, or at least think I know as I am by no means an astrophysicist, to once again try to enjoy this fictional world imagined in the early seventies. So what does this have to do with numismatics, well nothing and at this time of the year maybe everything?
Now I have the stockings hung by the chimney with care though I am sad to say it is no longer in anticipation of St. Nickā€™s arrival. I do admit that I still wave to the bearded man sitting in the large oversized chair in the bright red suit at the local shopping mall as well. I also appreciate seeing the store windows decorated for Christmas and admiring the lighted homes that brighten many a street. The reality though, and children please turn away, neither Santa, his sleigh, nor his reindeer exist anymore. We know all too well that to visit every home in the world to drop off a toy for every good little girl and boy would take a massive sleigh going at a speed as to be a giant fire ball burning through the night sky roasting those eight tiny reindeer alive and the driver too. Still we look forward to this time every year do we not? Who knows there may be a shiny round thing or a crisp new note that will find its way into your stocking this year and you will remember who gave it and when you received it for years to come. No that is not the numismatic tie in I was leading to but we are close.
What I bring to you is a note making light of a proposed program using no less than the jolly man himself to emphasize the fantasy of it all. In todayā€™s political climate it just seemed to jump forward from my collection just begging to be shared. The note is pure satire and is now over 75 years old. The issue at hand at the time under the Ham and Eggs movement was that seniors would get 30 dollars a week on Thursday. The receiver would have to spend this money before next Thursday or pay a tax on the remainder in an effort to stimulate the economy. Wow does any of this sound familiar. No this idea was not put forth recently, of course not what would 30 bucks get you today, but back in the late thirties. See the great depression was actually starting to show signs of rearing its ugly head once again just before the war so someone started pushing for social program in of all places California. Come now were you California bashers surprised. So to make fun of the program someone, and I do not who, printed these Thursday bucks.
The fantasy bucks feature of course jolly St. Nick under a rainbow adjacent a pot of gold. No gold in the pot though as in the fine print above the rainbow it clearly certifies that 20 wooden nickels are deposited therein. They also reference the Ham & Eggs movement specifically as they are listed as the treasurer for the fantasy piece. The back like the gold notes of old is printed in, come on shout it out if you know the answer, GOLD! Along the top it references the State of Confusion with the central element being a list of all those who will suffer due to its issuance. The note seems no less out of place today as when it was created as a joke all those years ago. Though maybe today to catch it up a bit we would need a character with a wand to wave over our debt to make it disappear as the central figure and not Jolly old St. Nick. As for the note itself I have one worn, I use worn as these surely did not circulate, specimen and another practically crispy. They measure roughly 5 11/16ā€¯ x 2 Ā¼ā€¯ and 5 13/16ā€¯ x 2 5/16ā€¯ respectively. The colored portions of the note seem to be printed much in the way the Sunday funnies were though the black and the gold printing on the reverse is solid.
In holding this note bearing the image of St Nick I am reminded that the more things change the more they stay the same, so I can take comfort that yes Christmas is just around the corner and somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind sits a jolly old elf laughing at me now in spite of himself.
Merry Christmas, all y'all!
P.S. For some more background the Ham and Eggs movement I have included two links below.