Gosia Fort writes:
My husband Tom and I have been in Pensacola for a wedding recently. During one of my off the schedule escapades, I visited the T.T. Wentworth, Jr.
Florida State Museum. There I learned about unusual currency used in the famous naval hangout in downtown Pensacola, Trader Jon's. The owner of the
bar, Martin “Trader Jon” Weissman, an avid enthusiast of aviation and collector, who even opened the Blue Angel Museum next door, dealt also in a
unique currency: military memorabilia. According to the museum label “the currency even had its own name: “Tradernomics” or bartering drinks for
something of value. Drink prices varied depending on the value, whether real or perceived, of items brought in”. The bar was closed in 2003, but the
history of this unusual place is preserved in a permanent museum display.
Thanks - I hadn't heard of this before. I found this article online at the Visit Pensacola site. As I understand it, there was no physical
Trader Jon scrip, just a tradition of bartering stuff for drinks. -Editor
Martin “Trader Jon” Weissman was a trained paratrooper, an honorary Blue Angel flight leader, a souvenir collector and a bartender. That's only
skimming the top, but we're just getting started.
To put it blatantly, he was one of a kind.
Beginning in the early 1950's, Trader Jon's was the local watering hole in downtown Pensacola. Weissman had a lifelong love of naval aviation
which in turn seeped into the walls of his bar. Trader was known for never setting drink prices but instead would ask patrons “What did you bring
me?” Soon the commonly known currency of “tradernomics” presented a space so well decorated that people were coming from near and far to see it.
Perhaps some of his most frequent visitors were the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The squadron first met Trader when they stopped by just shortly after
the bar was opened. Trader became close friends with Butch Voris, one of the original pilots, and is said to have met every pilot since 1953. The
establishment wasn't just home to our Blue Angels but served as a tradition for graduating Aviation Officer Candidates to celebrate their commission.
Over the years, thousands of drinks were had and hundreds of friends made.
In 1995, Trader bought the building next door and transformed it into a Blue Angels museum. His hope was to open his museum up to the public,
especially to schools, to entice kids to love flying like he did as a kid. He finished it just in time for the squadron's 50th anniversary season in
1996. Decorated from floor to ceiling with flight suits, photos and posters, the museum was used to host special events, including the Blue Angels'
after-airshow party in November.
To read the complete article, see:
Tradernomics: That's the Name of the Game
Wayne Homren, Editor
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