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Letters to the Editor (July 19, 2016)

Chet’s life touched so many in hobby and beyond

On June 25, we all lost a good friend and a great numismatist: Chester L. Krause, who was born on Dec. 16, 1923. Besides being a World War ll veteran and builder, a man called “Chet” was a numismatic icon who spoke in a mild and knowledgeable manner. You could say he carried a big stick with his excellent actions and communications and helped advance our numismatic hobby in countless manners.

Mr. Chet Krause, right, with Clifford Mishler in a photo taken last year. (Courtesy John and Nancy Wilson.)

Mr. Chet Krause, right, with Clifford Mishler in a photo taken last year. (Courtesy John and Nancy Wilson.)

Starting in the early 1950s, Krause Publications’ weekly publication, Numismatic News, was a powerful source of information for collectors from coast to coast. From that beginning and over the years, other periodical publications were started such as Bank Note Reporter, World Coin News and Coins magazine. These don’t include the many hobby publications that are also under the Krause Publications and F+W umbrella, with many being standard references today.

We found out on their webpage that over 150 different publications are part of the Krause Publications and F+W brand. The firm continues to be a leader in numismatic and hobby publications along with a diverse selection of coin supplies. Today, Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., operates with a very small staff and continues to print excellent periodicals and other publications in a timely and efficient manner.

Chet started an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1988. The ESOP ended not long after F+W took ownership of the company in 1992 when the shares were distributed mostly to the employees.

Besides Mr. Krause’s great impact in the numismatic hobby with his periodicals and publications, he was a great advocate and benefactor for our hobby and his beloved Iola. His donations in the numismatic hobby were great. Over the years he was honored with the highest awards by many different organizations such as the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society, Central States Numismatic Society and others.
After making a significant donation to ANA, Mr. Krause and Cliff Mishler were instrumental in getting the ANA museum named the Edward C. Rochette Museum in 2005. To find a new direction for the association, Chet served on the ANA board twice, starting in 2007 and resigning in 2010.

He was also a phenomenal collector and researcher of not only his state of Wisconsin, but also of all types of Depression scrip, world bank notes, postage currency envelopes, Canadian coins (including a rare Canadian 1936 dot cent) and many others. His great collections were sold by several major auction firms.

His automobile and military collections were also fantastic, and over the years were sold. We know he wanted to get back the Sherman tank he sold and keep it in Iola.

The Iola Car Show, started in 1972 and held annually, is on land that once was owned by Chet Krause and nearby to the Krause Publications headquarters. The Iola Car Show site recognized Chet after his passing and said, “Chet’s influence in this area is felt far beyond what words can express, and we could never repay all he’s done for us and our community.”

Chet’s contributions to Iola are legendary and run into millions of dollars and countless hours dedicated to the city he loved. Besides Iola, Chet was a major benefactor to Rawhide Boy’s Ranch in New London, Wis. Chet’s obituary states that any donations made in his memory go to Rawhide (www.rawhide.org) or to Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin.

He also made donations to several Wisconsin-based companies, and in 1990 was named the state’s Small Business Person of the Year. His philanthropy in many areas was huge, and he never wanted any thanks or a pat on the back for his contributions.

All of us should be thankful that we had many of the 92 years of Chet’s life to be his friend. He will be missed greatly by his many friends, not only in this country but many others. We send our sympathy to his family on the loss of Chet. His accomplishments and achievements will far outlive everyone who has crossed his path or is reading this. Rest in Peace, Chet. We will never forget you.

John and Nancy Wilson
Ocala, Fla.

Working for business Chet built, experience all its own

I am sorry to say that while I worked for Krause Publications for a number of years, including for Old Cars Weekly, World Coin News and other publications, Chet Krause was already retired and had sold his stock from the company, so I never had a chance to know him well.

However, from my few personal interactions with him, I got the impression that he could generalize your personality within a few seconds, a heady advantage when negotiating classic car or coin deals with sellers.

I did meet him several times, and my favorite Chet story is when I was sitting at my desk one day after recently being hired, and suddenly there was a rumbling sound and the walls of the Krause Publications building literally started vibrating.

I looked outside and there were no storm clouds. Also, Wisconsin is not an area known for earthquakes.

I then looked towards the main parking lot and there was Chet driving one of his World War II tanks through the parking lot. My first thought was, “How cool is it to be working at a place like this!”

My fantasy from then on was to be able to ride in (or even drive!) one of these tanks. Alas, it was not meant to be.

I also sort of got him lost while driving him to a restaurant during a coin show in Kansas City, but the less said about that, the better. I was just glad I did not become known as the person who drove Chet to a homeboy showdown in the inner city.

To be a world expert on coins is an amazing achievement in itself; to also be an expert on classic cars is doubly amazing. There will never be another Chet.

Todd Haefer
Scandinavia, Wis.

Keep the cent, and let’s put a hole in it while we’re at it

Editor’s note: The following letter was written by Gregg Van Oss of Wild Man Software. He was reluctant to see this as a letter to the editor because it is intended to be humorous, but humor is just what the letters section needs from time to time. Read it and enjoy it in the spirit it was written.

Canada’s elimination of the cent is often touted as an example we should follow. I say, look instead at the annular pennies of colonial Fiji. Specifically, we should put a hole in our coins. At the local hardware store I purchased a steel washer for 35 cents and it occurred to me that if a nickel had a hole in the center, it could accomplish the same task at one-seventh the price and it wouldn’t rust. A little hole returns intrinsic value to our coinage because you can choose to spend it or use it to catch up on some home repairs.

Many numismatists would cringe at the idea of using a coin in such a utilitarian fashion, but I suggest that such repurposing of money is nothing new. Who among us has never used a dime as a screwdriver, put a coin under an unlevel table leg, or used a credit card to remove ice from their windshield? Certainly, everyone cheered when Charles Bronson rid New York of crime using only a roll of quarters and a tube sock.

The local book store sells bookmarks that resemble a dollar bill; they’re $5 each. I certainly can’t be the only one who left that store with a real dollar bill in my book and four more in my wallet. Any tile setter can tell you that using a stack of four cents as a spacer will give you nice quarter-inch grout lines. In the old days, you could create an emergency battery by just pushing a silver dime and a copper cent half way into a lemon. I have no idea why people put pennies in their loafers but it seems like a further example that bears mentioning.

Repurposing a cent to replace a blown fuse has resulted in a lot of disasters, but imagine if the cent design included two small holes; you could repair a dress shirt without having to spend two bucks on a little plastic button. If your teenager is walking around with their pants hanging too low you could tell them, “Here’s a penny, fix that.” It’s moments like that which make parenting such a joy.

Detractors of the cent point out that it costs two cents for each coin that’s produced. A good point, perhaps, but the optimist in me can’t help but think that’s pretty impressive for a big government program. I mean, half of the government’s cent production budget is returned each year, and in cash.

In sufficient quantities, the cent can effectively convey a sense of disdain when paying any government fees you deem to be unjust; no other denomination says “I object” quite as clearly as a wheelbarrow full of cents. This alone is reason enough to retain the cent, and perhaps brings back the half cent; surely it’s what the Continental Congress had in mind in 1786 when they proposed the mill, a coin with a value of one-tenth of a cent.

Today there’s a wide variety of “coins” shaped like guitars, old cars or the continent of Australia. Surely a series of coins shaped like box-end wrenches would prove to be more functional than these and yet more collectible than a metric socket set.

A hole brings back some intrinsic value to our coinage. You can either spend a coin or use it to repair that leak in the kitchen faucet that your wife has been complaining about; you’d look like the hero and isn’t that as good as gold?

Gregg Van Oss
California

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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