The Real Count of Monte Cristo: Thomas Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas wrote some of the most widely-read books of all time, among them “The Three Musketeers” and the “Count of Monte Cristo.” Lesser known is that some of his most famous characters were inspired by his father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. The History Guy recalls the forgotten story of the man who inspired some of literature’s greatest adventure heroes.

One thought on “The Real Count of Monte Cristo: Thomas Alexandre Dumas

  1. At the end of your videos, you asked if anyone had any suggestions to submit them in the comments section. I was recently going through my collection of coins and rare bills, and I was suddenly reminded of two things you could talk about if you haven’t already done so. Both concern American currency.The first could be entitled “Coins and Treason” or something similar. The second could be entitled “American Currency during World War II”.

    The first concerns events in 1933 surrounding gold coins designed initially in 1928 (I think?) by St. Gauden’s. The St. Gauden’s design is considered by many as the most beautiful design of any American coins. The $5 “education” bill of 1896 is considered the most beautiful bill, and in mint condition can exceed $20,000.
    They had struck a small number of the St. Gauden’s gold coins in 1933, but laws surrounding gold ownership had recently been passed under President Roosevelt’s administration, so as a result these coins were scheduled to be melted and scrapped. Prior to the coin’s destruction, 60 of these coins were stolen.
    Since these coins have a stated cash value and are marked as U.S. currency but are not secured by the U.S., ownership of these coins is not only illegal but can cause you to be charged with treason. You would be arrested by the secret service. Only one coin (that I know of) is owned by a U.S. citizen, that coin was owned by a Turkish sultan (?) and was purchased for several million dollars. The purchaser also spent a very long period of time in court.

    The second thing I thought of was American currency shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. These can be broken down into two groups – Hawaii “overprint” notes and North Africa notes.
    Hawaii “overprint” notes stand out because HAWAII is printed on both sides on the front of the bill, as well as HAWAII printed in big open block letters on the reverse. The bills were collected from everyone. People could keep up to $100 for an individual or $200 for a business. The rest were shipped back to San Francisco to have the block letters printed over the existing bills, hence the “overprint” name. The idea was that if Japan successfully invaded and took control of Hawaii, everyone would understand not to accept any of the “overprint” bills.
    The circumstances of the North Africa bills are a bit different. These bills were all silver certificates (I’m pretty sure the Hawaii “overprint” bills are too). However, these bills stand out for having gold seals instead of the standard blue (closest thing to silver in ink maybe?). My understanding is that the North Africa notes were used in place of military payment certificates, probably because none had printed yet since we were attacked without warning and didn’t have any ready by the time troops were deployed in 1942.

    You’ll obviously need to do some more comprehensive research, but I think that will give you the general ideas. Although I don’t have any St. Gauden’s coins of any year in my possession, I do have both Hawaii “overprint” notes and North Africa notes in my collection. If you need high resolution images, please let me know.

    Thank you,
    Tim Gallagher

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