Question: This does not relate strictly to coins, but perhaps you can help me. I have a $25 U.S. Savings Bond Series E, dated December, 1944. It was issued by the Navy Department and bears a stamped imprint of a large circle. Inside the circle is an anchor and "DEC 7, 1944." Around the circumference of the circle it reads (at the top) "PEARL HARBOR DAY" and (at the bottom) "NAVY DEPARTMENT." Does this savings bond have any additional value as a collector's item (beyond its present appreciated value of $110.47)?--H.K.
Answer: You're right that this is not strictly a numismatic question, although it does fit under the broad umbrella of exonumia, objects that resemble money but are not designed to circulate as money.
Savings bonds were popular and patriotic during World War II. They were used to help finance the war effort. I suspect yours was part of a special bond drive. The date was significant, marking the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Objects such as savings bonds, gas-ration coupons and meat- and butter-ration coupons are indeed collectible. There are collectors of World War II material who will pay premiums for such items, just as there are specialists who concentrate on such events as the Civil War, the Bicentennial and the Olympics. I have seen coin dealers, primarily at shows, handle exonumia on these and other subjects.
The difficulty is pricing such material. Strictly numismatic items are traded daily, and prices and price guides are readily available. Items such as your savings bond are more difficult to price. Offhand, I'd say that your $25 bond with the Pearl Harbor counterstamp is definitely worth more than its accrued interest. However, the only way to determine its true value is to test the market. That will take a little work, going from coin dealer to coin dealer, antique shop to antique shop until you're satisfied with the best offer.
It's important to remember that it's the buyer who sets the price, not the seller, and that your bond will be worth more to a true collector than an idle speculator.
The first of a series of 12 medals honoring sports in Israel is being issued in conjunction with the upcoming Olympics. The first three medals honor football (soccer), shooting and athletics (track and field). The common reverse (pictured) shows three athletes with the Olympic torch. Medals were designed by Yossi Stern and struck at the Government Mint in Jerusalem. Medals are $6 each (ordered three at a time) from PandaAmerica, 23326 Hawthorne Blvd., Skypark 10, Suite 150, Torrance, Calif. 90505, (800) 472-6327.
More than 1,700 coins will be auctioned Sept. 8 and 9 at the Omni Park Central Hotel in New York from the Herbert M. Oechsner estate. Highlights include rare colonials, interesting Washingtonia, some rare "Hard Times" tokens plus ancient Greek and Roman pieces. Catalogues are available from Stack's, 123 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019; (212) 582-2580.