Marlene Dietrich’s ‘short snorter’ realises $5,000

Marlene Dietrich’s “short snorter” auctioned for $5,200 at PBA Galleries last night.

The lot is a roll of banknotes covered in signatures from well known people whom Dietrich met while flying around the world.

Marlene Dietrich snort

Marlene Dietrich collected these signatures while flying 

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, flight was the preserve of the very wealthy. You were likely to recognise many of your fellow passengers from the newspapers.

The idea of the short-snorter is supposed to have originated from Alaskan pilots and is essentially an ill-advised drinking game.

The two players each sign their names on a banknote and give it to the other. If one is unable to produce the note the next time they meet, they have to buy the other a drink.

The best way to avoid this was to staple all your notes together, as Dietrich has done here.

The drink would usually have been a so-called “short snorter” (hence the name), which is any spirit poured at less than full measure.

Even Alaskan pilots, a famously hardy bunch, felt drinking on the job was risky and so preferred to limit their alcohol intake before flights.

Dietrich’s roll features well over 1,000 signatures, featuring names like General Patton and Ernest Hemingway.

We have some remarkable signatures of our own for sale.

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