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Thank you, Chet Krause

I put on an orange arm band this morning. No, it is not some weird pre-pre-Orange Bowl ritual that I have or a tribute to William of Orange of the Netherlands who became King William of England, who is either revered or hated in Northern Ireland every July, depending on which side is being considered.

It is, rather, Old Cars orange and I have been drafted into the Old Car Show helpers brigade to sell subscriptions to a sister publication to Numismatic News, Old Cars Weekly.

This product was acquired and renamed by Chet Krause in 1972 for two compelling reasons.

The first reason was that Chet happened to like old cars and had a great interest in the field.

The second reason was more important. In the coin market downturn that followed the roll and bag boom after its 1964 peak, Chet nearly lost his business. The revenue at Numismatic News and Coins Magazine were in a relentless downward spiral and employees used to be a part of the Friday pink slip lottery, which you did not want to win because it meant you were laid off.

To save his business, Chet stopped drawing a salary and was using the proceeds of sales of his personal coin collection to stay afloat personally and the business professionally.

As you know, Krause Publications survived and went on to thrive. The key was hobby diversification. Chet vowed to move into other fields. His interests were so wide ranging that he was good at picking winners. When his own experience was lacking, his trusted staff guided him to big winners, such as Bob Lemke and Doug Watson suggesting the sports card field.

Old Cars was the breakthrough, though. Chet hitched his star professionally to the field and Iola, Wis., came along for the ride.

The Iola Lions Club had an annual chicken fry. Chet invited a few car friends to bring their cars in 1972 and soon the car portion took over. The Lions still sell chickens, but there are more than 50 other civic organizations serving an expected 140,000 people over four days. I will spend two days cooking hamburgers for the Lions this weekend.

The profits all go to charity. It has benefited Iola enormously.

Thanks, Chet. 

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