Newsletter #211

March 7, 2003

Greetings Accumulators!

This has been the most miserable winter in the Northeast. Another messy snow/ice/sleet storm this week, and frigid temperatures. Only two weeks until Spring!

Frank Zapushek of Bloomington, Illinois bought an 1878 half dollar coin at an auction for $800. He just knew there was something "wrong" with the coin and, after examining it again and again, found the flaw: a die that had been taken out of use two years before was used to cast the reverse of the coin. The tiny difference - better defined branches in the eagle's mouth and an open flower instead of a bud - could be worth quite a nice piece of change for Frank. And he's making sure veryone becomes aware of it before the coin is auctioned. First of all, Frank, who has been a coin collector since the age of 13, withheld the announcement of his find to the mainstream media until all the collector magazines had a chance to prepare stories about the coin and the upcoming tour he arranged for it. The coin will make several appearances at coin shows all over Illinois during the month of March. After that, it goes up for auction, at a reported minimum bid of $100,000. Frank's no fool!

And, more from the world of coins: Melvin Doyle, 89, of Minnesota has donated his coin collection, begun in 1918, when he was just five, to St Joseph's Catholic Church in New Hope. The coins were delivered via three pick-up trucks. According to published reports, there were 26 five-gallon containers of quarters, a keg of pre-1965 silver quarters, 3,500 silver dimes and sacks bulging with hundreds of silver dollars. There were also commemorative sets of silver coins and a set of 18 two-and-a-half dollar gold pieces. The Reverend Bob Hazel of St. Joseph's recruited young people from the church to sort and count the coins. The circulated coins, those with no collector value, totalled about $50,000. The older and rarer coins, those that were never circulated, are being evaluated by a New York auction house. Reverend Hazel says that the value of Mr. Doyle's gift to the church is likely to top $75,000.

Here's one for you furniture collectors. And you coffin collectors too. A Dutch designer has invented a bookcase that can be turned into a coffin after the owner's death. Hans Rademaker, 40, says it is for people who want to buy a coffin but find the idea morbid. After the owner dies, the bookcase's seven shelves can be fitted together to make the coffin lid. "I realised people don't want to talk about the death", Rademaker says. "So I made my own coffin so it could also be used as a bookcase that looks fine in a study or a dining room." The bookcases cost nearly $1,100, while a cheap coffin in Holland costs only about $400. "I know it's expensive but for that money you have a very beautiful bookcase and a strong coffin at the same time," he added. Mr Rademaker has now reached an agreement with Dutch public libraries to install the coffin in all libraries. Because, as everyone knows, it is very important to have coffins in public libraries. Actually, in some rougher neighborhoods they might come in handy.

Cher, who is on her farewell tour, is almost certainly going to either auction those strange costumes and wigs when it's all over, or donate them somewhere. However, one of her wigs, a half black/half teal braided affair valued at $9000 (Geez, what was it made of - ermine?), was stolen from a backstage dressing area in the Richmond Virginia Coliseum on February 25, according to The Associated Press. Poor bald Cher reported it stolen after her crew unpacked at the next stop on her tour in Baltimore, MD on February 26. The Richmond police appear to be a very sharp group. One of their employees overheard a man bragging that he had the wig, and informed the department. Detectives questioned a man who said he'd given the hairpiece to an unknown woman outside The Coliseum after the concert. A woman then walked into a police station and handed in the wig. "At this point in the investigation, it is believed that these folks were fans," police spokeswoman Christie Collins said. "Part of the investigation is how they got into that room." That is, of course, the only part of the investigation, since the wig was voluntarily returned to the department. Police are holding the wig as evidence. And also for the sergeant's retirement party at the Bowl N'Munch next Thursday night.

Accumulators, as much as I would like to continue to procrastinate with you, we have to do our taxes today. Better to get it out of the way before the weather turns warm and we want to go out and hit those garage and yard sales. Hope you're warm and snuggly wherever you are. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!

2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #211
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1996-2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.