Emperor Norton Notes..

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Harv » Fri, 14 Feb 2003 22:56:54



So I'm watching an old "Bonanza" yesterday, (Hallmark shows one every day at
4pm PT, and PAX shows another one at 5pm PT).. and one of the shows was
about this kookie guy who dressed up in military regalia and proclaimed
himself to be "Emperor of the United States" back in the Mid 19th Century.
His dream was to build the Golden Gate Bridge, thought impossible at the
time.. but he did build a smaller scale suspension bridge across a river to
prove the engineering was workable..

The show had him as a good friend of Ben Cartwright, but also a friend of
Mark Twain and other writers of renown of the day (which was apparently
true)..

In this episode he was beautifully played by Sam Jaffe, who looked
absolutely nothing like the photograph on the Web Site below, but hey,
that's Hollywood..

Now this is one of the many episodes of "Bonanza" which are
semi-fictionalized history.. they also did a two-parter on the creation of
the Pony Express, where Little Joe signed up as a rider.. naturally they
took some liberties with reality, but the framework of those episodes was
true.

Anyway Joshua "Emperor" Norton was apparently both beloved (by those who
thought he was a harmless genius) and despised by many who thought he was a
danger to the country and should be thrown into an asylum.. he made a
fortune cornering the rice market in San Francisco, and then lost it all,
and here's one of many Web Sites about him::

http://www.zpub.com/sf/history/nort.html

He created his own currency / notes which he used to pay his bills.
Apparently the originals are highly sought.. have any of you ever seen them
for sale anywhere?  A search of eBay turned up nothing.. not that I could
afford one anyway.. I can't imagine that a lot of them have survived outside
of those in museums..

Just curious..

Harv

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Owen Linzmaye » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 02:06:14


On 2/13/03 5:56 AM, in article


Quote:
> He created his own currency / notes which he used to pay his bills.
> Apparently the originals are highly sought.. have any of you ever seen them
> for sale anywhere?  A search of eBay turned up nothing.. not that I could
> afford one anyway.. I can't imagine that a lot of them have survived outside
> of those in museums..

No, I've never seen one for sale, though I've asked several dealers about
same and they say that when they come up for sale, they go for $500 and up.

If you are ever in San Francisco, you can see a Norton note at the Wells
Fargo Museum in the Financial District.

For that matter, if you are in SF and like notes of all kinds, make sure you
visit the Federal Reserve's free display on Market Street, also in the
Financial District.

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Harv » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 03:00:52



Quote:
> There is an ebayer that sells replicas for about 5 bucks a piece.  Nothing
> spectacular but it was something just to have.

Cool.. Thanks :) ..

Harv

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Bob Flamini » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 03:01:17


Quote:

> For that matter, if you are in SF and like notes of all kinds, make
> sure you visit the Federal Reserve's free display on Market Street,
> also in the Financial District.

Not any more. This exhibit was closed post-9/11. The SF FRB used to have
all sorts of cool stuff inside; now it's a fortress.

-Bob

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by King St. Edw » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 05:33:36


Yes, the ambassador of San Francisco. Many SF shops have signs in
their windows stating that their products are endorsed by Emperor
Norton, much like English shops, vis a vis the Royal Family.
I've got a biography of him around here somewhere. He would also use a
coin, a quarter, I believe, to impress on one side of his note over
his fingerprint to assure authenticity.
Basically his notes were a scam - promissary notes (with interest)
that never intended to be paid back. It was a way for him to secure
lunch. He would hang around in the park chatting with folks until he
got up enough scratch. I think mostly tourists purchased his notes, so
those would be well distributed.
To some people he's a pathetic figure, to others he's a great
American.
He was also Jewish, I think.

<snip>

Quote:
> He created his own currency / notes which he used to pay his bills.
> Apparently the originals are highly sought.. have any of you ever seen them
> for sale anywhere?  A search of eBay turned up nothing.. not that I could
> afford one anyway.. I can't imagine that a lot of them have survived outside
> of those in museums..

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by John Sto » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 05:49:53


Quote:

> So I'm watching an old "Bonanza" yesterday, (Hallmark shows one every day at
> 4pm PT, and PAX shows another one at 5pm PT).. and one of the shows was
> about this kookie guy who dressed up in military regalia and proclaimed
> himself to be "Emperor of the United States" back in the Mid 19th Century.
> His dream was to build the Golden Gate Bridge, thought impossible at the
> time.. but he did build a smaller scale suspension bridge across a river to
> prove the engineering was workable..

> The show had him as a good friend of Ben Cartwright, but also a friend of
> Mark Twain and other writers of renown of the day (which was apparently
> true)..

> In this episode he was beautifully played by Sam Jaffe, who looked
> absolutely nothing like the photograph on the Web Site below, but hey,
> that's Hollywood..

> Now this is one of the many episodes of "Bonanza" which are
> semi-fictionalized history.. they also did a two-parter on the creation of
> the Pony Express, where Little Joe signed up as a rider.. naturally they
> took some liberties with reality, but the framework of those episodes was
> true.

> Anyway Joshua "Emperor" Norton was apparently both beloved (by those who
> thought he was a harmless genius) and despised by many who thought he was a
> danger to the country and should be thrown into an asylum.. he made a
> fortune cornering the rice market in San Francisco, and then lost it all,
> and here's one of many Web Sites about him::

> http://www.zpub.com/sf/history/nort.html

> He created his own currency / notes which he used to pay his bills.
> Apparently the originals are highly sought.. have any of you ever seen them
> for sale anywhere?  A search of eBay turned up nothing.. not that I could
> afford one anyway.. I can't imagine that a lot of them have survived outside
> of those in museums..

> Just curious..

> Harv

I think one or more of them have turned up in the auction catalogs
of one of the major numismatic auction houses within the last 10 years
or so.  I know I read the background of him and his notes that I think
was part of an auction description but I can't say absolutely for sure
on that.
 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by whoha » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 05:54:07


Norton was considered by all to be a total nutcase because of three of his
most firmly held beliefs.

These were:

  1.  That a great bridge would span the Golden Gate;

  2.  That a program to assist the elderly and disabled would be created
which would be called Social Security; and

  3.  That an international organization to insure peace would be founded in
San Francisco and it would be called the United Nations.

For these three ideas 'everybody' in 1870's San Francisco knew he was
bull-goose loony...

That he was always accompanied by his Secretary of War and State (his two
dogs) didn't lessen his appeal in Ole' SF...

Jay in Garrison, TX

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Dave Parri » Sat, 15 Feb 2003 06:22:18


Quote:

> http://www.zpub.com/sf/history/nort.html

> He created his own currency / notes which he used to pay his bills.
> Apparently the originals are highly sought.. have any of you ever seen them
> for sale anywhere?  A search of eBay turned up nothing.. not that I could
> afford one anyway.. I can't imagine that a lot of them have survived outside
> of those in museums..

> Just curious..

> Harv

Back a long time ago, when the San Francisco Mint had a coin exhibit,
now this was like 25 years ago when I was a young lad, they had an
Emperor Norton note in one of the Gold Rush era paper money displays.
I remember it well because it was quite a curiousity, though I had
heard of him before from studying California history.  I have seen one
of these notes for sale, quite sometime ago, and I am still kicking
myself for not buying it, at the time I thought it too pricey, now I
wish I had it.  It was the real thing, and not one of the knockoffs
that are occasionally found in tourist areas.

There are a number of bios of Emperor Norton, they are interesting
reads, particularly in reading of some of the other characters in SF
without whom he would not have been able to masquerade himself as
Emperor for some 20+ yrs.

Dave P.

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Owen Linzmaye » Sun, 16 Feb 2003 03:20:40


Really? I wasn't aware of that. I walked by it daily on my way to work for
the last few months and while I noticed all of the concrete barriers
outside, I didn't realize they closed down the exhibit. What a shame.


Quote:


>> For that matter, if you are in SF and like notes of all kinds, make
>> sure you visit the Federal Reserve's free display on Market Street,
>> also in the Financial District.

> Not any more. This exhibit was closed post-9/11. The SF FRB used to have
> all sorts of cool stuff inside; now it's a fortress.

> -Bob

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by High Plains Writ » Sun, 16 Feb 2003 09:02:16



Quote:
> ... this kookie guy who dressed up in military regalia and proclaimed
> himself to be "Emperor of the United States" back in the Mid 19th Century.
> His dream was to build the Golden Gate Bridge

From the American Numismatic Society and the Harry Bass Foundation,
this bibliography.

GENERAL\ Emperor Norton \Scrapbook\Vol.3\1937 MAY\Pg.113

Heritage Numismatic Auctions (Dallas, TX)
[03/19-20/1998] Lots: 5001-6791.
Carter, Donald H. (Collection, Pt. 2) Forsyth (Collection) Rockies
(Collection) Jefferson (Collection) Emperor Norton (Collection)

Herst, Herman. Emperor Norton's unique issues are interesting.
Canadian Coin News Vol. 30, no. 12 (Oct. 13, 1992), p. 12, 16

Hansen, Harvey L. "Emperor Norton of the United States."
Numismatist v. 46, 1933, p. 160-161

Schuman, Edward. Emperor Norton I.
The Shekel Vol. 21, no. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1988), p. 3-7

HAYES, GAYLEN G. A Mad Monarch's Money. Num Vol. 100 No. 4 (April
1987) pp. 733-737 illus. <<<Norton I, the self-proclaimed Emperor of
the United States and Protector of Mexico, "reigned" in San Francisco
from 1859 to 1880. Although mostly supported by various businesses,
which contributed clothing, transportation, etc., when in need of
pocket money, Norton I would issue scrip in the form of promissory
notes, which he called "Bonds of the Empire" These notes were printed
in two issues, the first redeemable in 1880 and the second redeemable
in 1890. Since Norton I died on 8 January 1880, he never had to redeem
his mature notes. (Candace Carter)

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by steve norto » Wed, 19 Feb 2003 03:30:05


Quote:

> So I'm watching an old "Bonanza" yesterday, (Hallmark shows one every day at
> 4pm PT, and PAX shows another one at 5pm PT).. and one of the shows was
> about this kookie guy who dressed up in military regalia and proclaimed
> himself to be "Emperor of the United States" back in the Mid 19th Century.
> His dream was to build the Golden Gate Bridge, thought impossible at the
> time.. but he did build a smaller scale suspension bridge across a river to
> prove the engineering was workable..

The 1998 ANA National Money Sale catalog had a brief note about the
Emperor.  Apparently one of his descendants ("heirs?") collected silver
dollars and sold a batch at that sale.  There is a picture of the
emperor in full uniform, riding a bicycle, with the text as follows.  I
could probably scan the picture and post it if anyone was interested...

We are pleased to offer for public auction the second highest graded
Peace dollar set ever assembled, the so-called Emperor Norton Set. While
not directly linked in any way to the mid-19th century San Francisco
eccentric, who in 1859 proclaimed himself Norton I, Emperor
of the United States and Protector of Mexico (he later dropped the
Protector of Mexico considering it impossible to protect such an
unsettled nation), the collector of this remarkable set of Peace dollars
is a descendent of one Samuel norton, who came to California in 1852.
like Emperor Norton, he too planned to make his fortune selling goods
and services to the miners of California and Nevada, rather than panning
for gold himself. He trekked to ***ia City, Nevada where the first
goods he carried from Boston were a sellout.  On his next trip from
Boston, he walked from San Francisco to the early pueblo of
Los Angeles.  Preceding the railroad and telegraph, the news Samuel
norton brought form the East Coast, along with his goods, brought
hospitality at haciendas and often the loan of a horse for his next
day's journey.  The profits from his second trip gave rise to a
successful dry goods business in Los Angeles.

The maternal great-grandparents of the owner of the Emperor Norton
Collection came to San Francisco in the 1870s.  The assembler of these
splendid Peace dollars grew up in San Francisco and wished to honor his
mother, Adrienne Norton.  Although not related to Emperor
Norton I, the owner of this set also wished to honor Joshua (Emperor)
Norton, whose scrip still recalls this eccentric man and the dashing
ways of early Californians.

When brought before a court to have Norton committed, the judge
dismissed the inquiry into the Emperor's sanity, commenting that Norton
was "just about the best going in the king line."

 
 
 

Emperor Norton Notes..

Post by Merlin Dorfma » Wed, 19 Feb 2003 07:57:31


...

: Now this is one of the many episodes of "Bonanza" which are
: semi-fictionalized history.. they also did a two-parter on the creation of
: the Pony Express, where Little Joe signed up as a rider.. naturally they
: took some liberties with reality, but the framework of those episodes was
: true.

     I recall an episode about Albert Michelson (of the Michelson-
Morley experiment to establish the speed of light) and his efforts
to obtain admission to the Naval Academy.  Not perfect history, but
good viewing, and Michelson did live in ***ia City so it was at
least plausible.