Klinger's Place

This is a personal place to post things to the Internet related to my hobby of numismatics and items related to my family and friends.

My Photo
Location: San Diego, California

I grew up in Lykens, PA, graduated from PENN STATE, and was commissioned in the US Navy in 1961. I spent 30 years in the Navy - finishing as a Captain. I served most of my years in the Submarine Service. I had command of the USS Sam Houston (SSBN 609). I have a wonderful wife (Marilyn), two kids (David & Karolyn), and six grandkids (Kevin, David, Alison, Amber, Richard & Sarah).

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Personal Challenge Coin

Left click photo to enlarge.

Challenge Coin History

[This article is from a Kelly AFB dining out ceremony]

During World War I, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck.

Shortly after acquiring the medallions, the pilots’ aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification.

He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Unfortunately, saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine.

Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner - a challenger would ask to see the medallion. If the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued on throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.

We proudly continue this tradition today with the challenge coin.

[ed: Commander's coins and personal challenge coins have only recently taken a part along side the unit challenge coins. More challenge coins then ever are now in circulation. ]

San Diego Mini Fest

Left click photo to enlarge.
The San Diego Mini Fest (24 Sept) was a great success. There were eight pay-book-carrying festers there as well as six other family/friends.There was a wide variety of Fest Certificates and other collectibles given to(or should I say earned by) the enthusiastic festers. Most who were present agreed that more collectibles came out of this mini fest than any of the previous mini fests. Lots of show-n-tell.

The "official" Fest Certificates were unique in their design and size. There are three denominations ($1, $5, $10) with designs based on MPC notes. But, the MFC is square (2" x 2") ! The back design is a marbled swirl design, except for specimen notes which are uniface. We each also got a specimen book, but in my book, at least, the notes are production notes (ie regular serial numbers).The specimen notes (2) I received (serial S00000000S) were in my regular pay! A very few of the specimen notes were embossed! I'll leave further analysis of the MFC to others who attended the mini fest.

Other collectibles which were distributed included a great Souvenir Card which has a MPC series 681 theme and is stamped with a US Special Delivery postage stamp. There was also a Rockin' Baja gift certificate with a MPC series 681 $20 printed on the back. Then there was a BMA 500 Lire note with a MFC overprint AUTHORIZED FOR USE IN CALIFORNIA, WestFEST Currency Board , and a BAFSV with a stamped San Diego MPC Mini Fest. Everyone also received an example of a personal challenge coin.

What also made this mini fest special for me was that it was held in Old Town, San Diego,
only a ten minute walk from my house.

The Dam Vignette

MPC series 692, $20 back. Left click photo to enlarge.

The Dam Vignette

I was looking at the back design of the $20 note of MPC series 692 - a very unusual looking dam. Several references listed the dam vignette as being Hoover Dam. Well I've been to Hoover dam, and this is no Hoover dam! So, I thought I'd spend a few hours surfing the Web and find out just what dam it is.

A web search for dams yielded many thousands of sites - so I set to work. After several hours of searching these dam web pages I soon realized that this needle-in-the-haystack method was not going to work. So, I searched for dam organizations, and quickly came across a web site for the United States Society on Dams.I sent an e-mail to the Executive Director, along with a scan of the dam vignette and asked for his help in identifying the dam. I sent the e-mail on a Saturday morning, and in a few hours I had a reply. I thought to myself: "wow this dam guy is fast!" And, what is so critical about his dam job that he works on Saturdays?

His reply was right to the point. He said that the dam was the Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River near Globe, AZ. He also said that it was built by the Bureau of Reclamation and was completed in 1911. But, I decided to continue to find independent verification of these dam facts. A specific web search for Theodore Roosevelt Dam yielded 270 web sites, many with pictures and many interesting facts about the dam. I'll share a few with you.

First, because of the unusual design of the dam it was not a problem to verify from many pictures that I had the right dam. I have a contemporary Post Card that shows a view of the dam which most closely resembles the dam vignette, except for a model T Ford on the dam road.

Anyway, it was President Teddy Roosevelt who signed the National Reclamation act in 1902. That started the largest dam building project in US history - to include Roosevelt Dam. The dam was started in 1903 and was the first major project under this act. It was a masonry dam, or as the engineers call it a "rubble-masonry, arch-gravity dam." This just means that it was made of dolomite blocks, rather then poured concrete. It's unique cyclopean-masonry, thick arch designed earned it a listing on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The original name of the dam was simply Salt River Dam #1. When it was dedicated in 1911 Teddy Roosevelt was there and gave the keynote speech. I have several pictures of that. The name wasn't changed to Theodore Roosevelt Dam until 1959.

The movement toward hydroelectric power was underway, and by 1940, 40% of the nation's power (75% in the West) was hydroelectric. Of course now we have the environmental extremists who are trying to rip down the dams in order to save the freckled-faced-fagot-fish, or whatever. In 1911 this was the largest masonry dam in the world. In the 1980s the dam was renovated under the Safety of Dams program. The original masonry dam was encased in poured concrete and raised in height by 70'. That change wasn't completed until 1996. So the renovation took much longer than the original construction and cost much more! So what's new? In any case, the present dam no longer resembles the MPC design.

Well, now you have the whole dam story. Next, who engraved the dam vignette?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Klinger Family in WWI

The Great War (1917). Left click photo to enlarge.

This family picture, taken in 1917, is of my Uncle Harry Klinger (the soldier),
and the nurse (Aunt Grace Klinger), the little girl (Aunt Vira Klinger) and the sailor (my dad, Richard Klinger). Dad had two other sisters (Katie and Flora), and three other brothers (Harry, Francis, and Carlos).
In those days, everyone was patriotic - the Klingers still are !

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Family reunion

Left click on photo to enlarge.

My new twin grandkids - Richard and Sarah. My other four
grandkids are Kevin, David, Alison & Amber.
The old guys are my brother Rich and Grandpa David Klinger.

World War Bonus Bond

World War Bonus Bond. Left click to enlarge.

While researching the Adjusted Service Bonds which were used by the Federal Government to pay the WWI bonus, I came across references to World War Bonus Bonds issued by the State of New York. These bonds offered 4% simple interest and were payable in gold coins !
But, I haven't been able to find out much more about them. So I am asking for help from others for more information. Also, did any other states issue similiar WWI bonds?

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.

David Klinger

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Family reunion 2004

Family reunion 2004.

Left to right: Richard Klinger, Donald Klinger, Marie (Klinger) Andrews, David Klinger.
Missing - our brother Robert Klinger (deceased) - photo taken by his son, Craig Klinger.

Adjusted Service Certificate

Adjusted Service Certificate. Left click to enlarge.

Adjusted Service Bonds & The WWI Bonus.

I recently found a scan of an Adjusted Service Bond (ASB). I had never even heard of such a bond before
so this opened up an interesting story for me about the military bonus program of The Great War (WWI).
The Adjusted Service Bonds are unusual in many respects. First, they were issued on 15 June 1936,
and matured nine years later on 15 June 1945. They were only issued in one denomination ($50.00). They were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and have a Andrew Jackson vignette at the top which is similiar to the vignette used on the $20 bill of the era. They payed 3% per annum simple interest, but could be cashed at face value as soon as they were received. The amount due on 15 June 1945, was $63.50 per Bond. This particular bond was sold online within the last year for $750.00. You can view the bond at the following web address:

The full story starts at the end of the First World War (11 November 1918). Several veteran groups, and many
US Congressmen were already lobbying for a "soldiers bonus". Some wanted military scrip issued as
happened after previous wars - to be exchanged for land. Others wanted a simple cash bonus. The
debate went on for several years, and finally in 1924 the World War Adjusted Compensation Act was passed, over the veto of President Coolidge. It provided for the payment of a "bonus" with interest aimed to adjust the pay of armed forces members during World War I, in compensation for lost wages in the private sector during their service. The payment was not to be made until 1945.

The mechanism used to pay the bonus was to issue Adjusted Service Certificates (ASC). The picture at the lead of this post is an Adjusted Service Certificate. I think that this is the only ASC in collector hands? In effect, Adjusted Service Certificates were 20-year endowment insurance policies maturing on 15 June 1945. They earned 3% simple interest over this period. To qualify for the bonus, a veteran had to have at least 60-days service between April 15, 1917, and November 11, 1918. The bonus paid was $1 a day for Stateside service and $1.25 a day for overseas service. They (ASC) could not be used as collateral, so the money was out of circulation until 1945. The average payment due in 1945 was more than $1000.00.

In 1931 an ammended bill was passed over President Hoover’s veto that gave soldiers the right to borrow against bonus certificates for as much as 50 percent of their value. President Hoover warned against this
in his 1931 State of the Union Address when he said: "The law enacted last March authorizing loans of 50 per cent upon adjusted-service certificates has, together with the loans made under previous laws, resulted in payments of about $1,260,000,000. Appropriations have been exhausted. The Administrator of Veterans' Affairs advises that a further appropriation of $200,000,000 is required at once to meet the obligations made necessary by existing legislation. There will be demands for further veterans' legislation.... But our present expenditure upon these services now exceeds $1,000,000,000 per annum. I am opposed to any extension of these expenditures until the country has recovered from the present situation." It was also President Hoover who signed an Executive Order to establish the Veteran's Administration, possibly to put some of these events in order.

The Bonus March - In the spring of 1932, more than 20,000 veterans, most of them unemployed and in desperate financial straits, spontaneously made their way to Washington, D.C. They demanded passage of a bill providing for immediate payment of their World War I bonus. Calling themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF), they camped in vacant government buildings and in open fields. One headline dubbed the event: "The Shame of Anacostia Flats". The veterans conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly way, but when the Senate defeated the Pittman Bill (June 17, 1932) the marchers refused to return home. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army, under the command of GEN Douglas MacArthur, to evict them forcibly. One of MacArthur's unit commanders was LTC George Patton. The Army had their camps set on fire, and the army drove the veterans from the city. Hoover was much criticized by the press and the general public for the severity of his response.

In 1935, Congress passed a bill providing for the immediate cash payment of the war bonuses. Franklin Delano Roosevelt vetoed it. In 1936, FDR vetoed the same bill again. But on Jan. 27, 1936, the veto was overridden. The next day's Washington Post headline read: "Soldier Bonus Becomes Law as Senate Crushes Veto, 76-19; Full Payment Sped for June 15." The payment method used was to issue Adjusted Service Bonds - so the story comes full circle.

The Bureau of Public Debt, US Department of Treasury reported in 1999 that there was $300,600.00 in unpaid Adjusted Service Bonds for the Veterans of The Great War. Since all the bonds were of $50.00 denomination, this means that in 1999, 6012 of these bonds were "still out there". The bonds can still be redeemed at the same office as can the Armed Forces Leave Bonds. That office says that only a "very few" ASBs have been redeemed since 1999. Also, just as in the case of the AFLBs, remainder amounts due were paid by check. One account I found (on a genealogy web site) was of a soldier who in 1936 was due to receive $973.00. He received his Adjusted Service Bonds and a check. There was no date on the notice. He received: 19 bonds with serial numbers 32,410,751 – 32,410,769 in the amount of $950.00. The check (No. 969,717) from the US Treasury was for $23.00.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What is it worth?

a gold florin (c1450).

The age-old numismatic question "what is it worth?" has been around for a very long time. In a 1588 speech titled: A Discourse upon Coins, given at the Academy in Florence by Bernardo Davanzati, I think he captured the crux of that question perfectly.

"A Mole is a vile and despicable Animal, but in the Siege of Cassilino the Famine was so great, that a mole [rat] was sold for 200 Gold Florins; and yet it was not dear, for he that parted with it died of Hunger, and he that bought it outlived the Siege."

You can read the entire 1588 speech at: