[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, Bruce Fox. This information was originally published in 1993 in The Complete Guide to Walking Liberty Half Dollars]
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While studying any type of collectible one encounters unusual, but related memorabilia. This is an added bonus and makes the research that much more interesting. Ross Albergo supplied the next two items from his personal collection.
This first item is a “magic” Walking Liberty half dollar. The coin was meticulously cut as shown with a jeweler’s saw into three pieces. When placed together the cuts are practically undetectable. A fine groove was machined around the circumference. A thin rubber band is placed in the groove to hold the coin together. When the two sides are pressed toward the middle piece, the sides turn perpendicular to the center, i.e. raking on a “channel” shape. The coin then can fit into the mouth of a bottle as part of a magic trick. When the pressure is released the coin springs back to its original shape. These coins can still be found in magic shops around the country today, but are almost always Kennedy halves. The coin below is believed to have been made in the 1950′s.
The next item was found along U.S. Route 40 in Arizona. The Navajo Indians are believed to have made these buttons to sell to the passing tourists. The coin was pounded on a semi-pointed metal device so the obverse is convex and the reverse becomes concave. The height of the button when laid on its reverse is approximately one-half inch. The button hook is soldered on the reverse side. These buttons are believed to have been made in the late forties or early fifties. Other series of coins, such as some Barber and seated coinage, have also been transformed to buttons. Let’s hope there are no high grade 1921-S buttons out there!
Another unusual item is pictured below. For some reason, a Walking Liberty half dollar was rolled out to the same diameter as a Bust half dollar. The weight is different and the coin is thinner. Please send me any theories on why someone would take the trouble to do this.
During the course of all the interviews I met many interesting people and heard many exciting stories and experiences. I welcome any interesting stories, sightings, experiences, rumors, etc. related to this series. If there is an update to this book, others, I’m sure, would enjoy reading about them.