Originally posted May 2014. During my time here this dime box has been one of the most fun non-book items that we've sold. We've sold a lot of random things over the years, even china (never again), but if nothing else, this can't be beat for its straightforwardness. Sold quick, and was super easy to package and ship. The same cannot be said for china...:
Sometimes the most interesting things that come through our offices are not books at all. Sometimes they’re what you least suspect will be valuable, as well.
Last week an elderly lady came in with a couple boxes of books and a few boxes of assorted china and other things. She’d done some research, so knew a little bit about what she had, and she had some expectations of value, not all of which we could satisfy. What is listed for sale online is not the same as what actually sells online. And stamp collecting? Not likely to make a huge resurgence any time soon, not that I know of or would be willing to bet. [Not to mention we know next to nothing about stamps... except the proper term for stamp collecting is philately. Beyond that, zilch.]
This dime bank was the one thing she didn’t really know anything about, and brought along because she’s trying to get of stuff. It was the one thing she was dismissive of; just something her husband had owned. Turns out it’s probably worth more than everything else she brought in combined. Vintage World War II dime banks are, it appears, highly collectible. Even better, it had the full 50 dimes inside.
Unlike most of her china, this dime bank was very easy to search for and evaluate. It is pretty obviously from the second world war, but no one else online was saying anything more specific than "the 1940s". With items like this, it’s always nice to nail down a verifiable date range of manufacture. With one of this woman’s other items we were able to determine the manufacture dates specifically, and also determine they were given away in boxes of Wheaties and Bisquick. I don’t think that was the case for the dime banks.
At this point Ken, who works upstairs, came in. I showed it to him because I know he’s a big Civil War geek, and I figured he might know a thing or two about the World Wars, too. The first thing he mentioned were the red dots inside the stars on the plane’s wings. They stopped using those dots in March 1942 because they looked too much like the Japanese rising sun. Well, that nails it down nicely! Thanks Ken! [The US entered the war on December 7, 1941, so it seems like there's a narrow three month window in which this would likely have been produced.]
Half of the dimes are pre-1965, which I found out means that 25 of these dimes are 90% silver. Currently [note: as of May 2014] that means they each have a “melt value” of $1.40. Just another example of a good reason not to take anything for granted until you know better, and the circuitous paths of investigation. You definitely can’t assume WWII era memorabilia is worthless until you know better.
The final realized prize was $365.31 with 11 bids. Keep your eyes peeled for these things at garage sales.
Our feedback: "Minty Fresh. Husband very happy with his purchase. A+++++++++". Always nice to have satisfied customers!