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The Vesta McCurry saga: WW1 “trench art” on a 1918 French coin


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Here is a French 2-franc piece from 1918.

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It was made into a World War I “trench art” love token in France, acquired by Howard G. Pearman, a sergeant with Company F of the US 21st Infantry, 3rd Division, and engraved for his sweetheart back home, Miss Vesta McCurry of Hartwell, Georgia.

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Here is Vesta, circa 1918. Howard returned home safely and they married on Christmas Day of 1919.

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Here are Howard and Vesta, later in life. He died in 1958. She lived until 1973.

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Here is Howard and Vesta’s granddaughter Nancy, to whom I returned the coin in 2019, a century after her grandparents’ wedding.

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It was really exciting to research that piece, track down its history, and send it home to the family. It’s rare to own an old coin and discover so much about the actual everyday people in its history.

 

Edited by lordmarcovan
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  • lordmarcovan changed the title to The Vesta McCurry saga: WW1 “trench art” on a 1918 French coin
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Posted · Administrator

What an incredible story, and a lovely conclusion for the coin. I’m sure their granddaughter Nancy was overjoyed to have such a wonderful heirloom back in the family! 

Did you intend to reunite the coin when you first purchased it or did the idea spring about as you learned more about the coin after you got it? 

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1 hour ago, Restitutor said:

What an incredible story, and a lovely conclusion for the coin. I’m sure their granddaughter Nancy was overjoyed to have such a wonderful heirloom back in the family! 

Did you intend to reunite the coin when you first purchased it or did the idea spring about as you learned more about the coin after you got it? 

I was about to sell the coin but decided to do a little internet sleuthing first.  I posted some of my initial discoveries on CT, and the story evolved quite a bit as more facts were uncovered.  

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/vesta-mccurrys-ww1-love-token-coin-is-going-home.329215/

As the saga developed, I knew we had to try to track down a descendant, and when we did, I was very excited.  The story was much more priceless than the hundred bucks or so I would have tried to get for the coin.

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Posted (edited)

As it happens, that was the second time I tracked down the backstory of a WW1 trench art love token.

The first story was equally poignant, but sadder.  It also revealed a 100-year-old photo of the person who had the coin engraved.

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/berthas-boy-ww1-love-token-on-1916-french-franc-from-a-fallen-canadian-soldier-to-his-mother.286034/
 

The person who got that piece from me said he was going to donate it to the Canadian War Museum.

Edited by lordmarcovan
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