Numismatic Detective - Hula Dancer and the Jet



Hula girl provides a visual dance that dramatizes or portrays words ... the jet provides travel...

The medal of interest in this journal entry is called the Hawaiian Eye Fogal.

Not much information is documented on the Hawaiian Eye Fogal medals, Medcalf & Russell 2M-128 (silver-nickel) and 2M-129 (antique bronze). These medals are unique in that it houses a miniature eye-piece that functions as a magnifying glass.

Based on physical inspection of specimens I acquired, weight is 26 grams, diameter is 38 mm, and thickness is 3mm.

The medal was invented and patented by Dr. St. Barth Alaska (patent 214946). There is also a small diameter hole to allow a string or chain to run through it so that it may be worn as a pendant.

It can be assumed that the wearer would use the medal to enhance the vision of his/her eye. An item of note is that the eye-piece fits into place by inserting it from the reverse side. I believe this fitted mechanism (small diameter obverse/large diameter reverse that holds the eye-piece) is the basis for the patent.

In discussing the medal with the coin dealer (who I purchased it from), it can be said that Dr. Alaska was an optometrist. The coin dealer purchased the medals from his great grandson.

It is assumed that the medal is tied to the television series Hawaiian Eye (1959 - 1963). However, no televisions trade mark or other related show markings are exhibited on the medal. Even the font used on the medal to spell Hawaiian Eye does not match the font used on material used to promote the television show. Also, the symbolic Hawaiian Idol used to identify with the show is missing on the medal.

An internet search was performed and I can surmise the Hawaiian Eye medal. It's an advertising piece for tourism and is highly unlikely related to the television series. There is also a jet and woman in Hawaiian attire (hula dancer outfit) on the reverse to promote travel to Hawaii.

To give substance to my theory, I located comparable medal also with Dr. Alaska's name and patent number on it. It is also used to promote tourism for the country of Mexico. The placement of the eye-piece and pedant hole is in a similar location. What is interesting is that the Mexican pieces I have seen had the eye-piece removed or had fallen out (and in some cases replaced with a two-sided picture). The design also has a jet and a woman dressed in Mexican attire (design elements also in the Hawaiian Eye medals).

These Hawaiian Eye medals are eligible for NGC grading and encapsulation as they are listed in the Medcalf & Russell reference book.

Images are provide to compare the Hawaiian Eye Fogal medal and the Viva Mexico Ojo Focal medal.

The image of the hula dancer is Ronnie Nanea Etsuko Oda ...For those not familar with the different types of hula she can be seen dancing at


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