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Coins recall World War I

Coins recalling the events of World War I will be struck and sold this year by many mints of the world.

On June 28 we will mark the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. By early August 1914 the Great Powers of Europe were engaged in a death struggle that cost tens of millions of lives.

The United States will have three more years to determine what it will do, if anything, to mark our participation in that tragic war.

We declared war on Germany and the Central Powers in 1917.

Memories do need refreshing. When I Googled Franz Ferdinand, the first thing to come up in the search was www.franzferdinand.com, a website for a 12-year-old rock band.

That is why I recently read “Wilson,” a biography of Woodrow Wilson, a President who kept us out of war as his 1916 election slogan put it, before he led us into it. The book is by A. Scott Berg.

I wanted to know the history. I also wondered if by reading the book it would give me any ideas of what would be an appropriate numismatic commemorative.

It has started my thought process, but I have not yet reached any conclusions.

Our part of World War I began in 1917. It ended with the armistice Nov. 11, 1918. It is now called Veterans Day.

The Peace dollar’s 100th anniversary comes in 1921. It was issued as a direct result of the war and our delayed peace treaties with the Central Powers.

Do we mark all the anniversaries, some of them, or just one? Do we add more, such as to mark some of the battles?

If we choose one anniversary, which is the most appropriate?

People my age and older probably remember family members who served in World War I. Those connections might influence our opinions.

I still need to do more thinking about it. If you have any thoughts on the matter, email me at david.harper@fwmedia.com.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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