For those that don't know him, here's a little info on Emperor Norton from
Norton, (Joshua Abraham) "Emperor'' ? 1819 -- 1880
Legendary eccentric; born in England or South Africa. Nothing is known of
his life before he arrived in San Francisco along with others from around
the world in the wake of discovery of gold in 1848. But it appears that he
had at least spent some time in South Africa and that he arrived as a
relatively successful businessman; instead of trying to make his fortune by
prospecting, he apparently turned to speculating in rice, a valuable
commodity at the time, but ended up losing everything. This evidently drove
him into some delusional state if not outright madness and he is said to
have vanished for awhile. What is known for sure is that in 1857 he
reappeared in San Francisco wearing a costume suspiciously like France's
Napoleon III's, and announced that he was "Emperor Norton." For the next 13
years he paraded around the city in his uniform, issuing "proclamations" and
official-looking banknotes (which were honored in some restaurants) and
appearing at many official functions. Still an "open" frontier town, San
Francisco tolerated him with good humor, and when he died, thousands showed
up at his funeral. Numerous books, plays, and musical dramas have been
written about him, the most notable being Henry Mollicone's opera, Emperor
See also: http://www.discordia.org/~keeper/norton.html
BTW, if you ever come to San Francisco, be sure to check out the Wells Fargo
museum in the financial district. They have all sorts of neat stuff relating
to the gold rush days of SF, as well as an original Norton note. While
you're here, visit the SF Federal Reserve, too, and look at their amazing
currency collection. Both are free!
P.S. I've never seen a Norton note for sale at any price either.
On 7/10/02 5:37 AM, in article
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> I have been using the "let me know" function on e-bay for almost a
> year now and have as of yet to see even one original Emperor Norton
> script come up.
> I have hit a number of numismatic shops in the San Diego area over the
> years and not one person here has seen on out side of a auction
> catalog in thier life.
> I found a news group post from 4 years ago mentioning that they sell
> for X amount but as that is the only source I have found I don't know
> how real the price was or for that matter if things have changed in 4
> Does anyone out there own any script from the Emperor?
> Does anyone know how many were printed in the course of his time as
> Has anyone got an idea as to what they sell for now or how frequently
> they become available?
> Anyone got one they want to donate to me? Just kidding.
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