The Japtan Islands banknote shown above was printed
aboard the USS Estes
AGC-12 during the period of atomic bomb testing at Eniwetok
atoll in the Marshall Islands. Joseph E. Boling co-author of "World War II
Remembered" provided this information about their purpose. "I believe they
were actual circulating currency in the exchange system within the task
To support this possibility, Larry "Ski" Smulczenski reported on
January 18, 2005 in
MPC GRAM #1225, the
following, "I just found a photocopy of a letter from Captain J. S.
Holtwick, Jr. to Rear Admiral C. W. Wilkins dated 4 October 1952. The
content is astonishing. 'Dear Admiral Wilkins: The enclosed samples, fresh
off the press, of the five different denominations of Recreation Scrip
being used for commerce on Japtan Island, might be an interesting
souvenir. The natives accept it without demur, in exchange for such
locally available examples of native craft as beer, ice cream, and pop. Your enthusiastic support of the project, and the fine backing you and
your staff have given me and my people in establishing it, are sincerely
appreciated.' Wow. This seems to be saying that the Japtan notes
that we know and have considered to be mostly souvenirs actually
circulated in commerce. It also states FIVE different denominations were
in use and finally, it was assumed that the admiral would be interested in
these as souvenirs. I think that all of this is amazing (the most amazing
part is that the letter still exists and has found its way into
collectors' hands.) "
back has an atomic graphic and the denomination. It is believed that the
signature is that of J.S. Holtwisk, Jr.- Recreation Council Chairman.
Examples known to exist are in denominations of 5 Cents, 10 Cents, 25
Cents, 50 Cents and $1.00.
Printed on bond paper, some exist with a postmark thought to be that of
the USS Bairoko CVE-115/AKV-15.
Eniwetok is a very small atoll in the Ralik chain. It was occupied by
3,500 Japanese and Korean troops during WWII and was captured by the
Allied Army on February 23, 1944. After the war it became a hydrogen bomb
The Marshall Islands are about the size of Washington, DC and have a
population of 58,000. It attained its independence 21.10.1986 and
maintains a free association with the US. The US Dollar is used as its