"Return of the Lost Coin"
by Mike Metras, 67-68, 69-70 ASA Communications Analyst

Thanks to KagnewStation.com an owner is reunited with an important memoir.

In 1999 I posted the following on KagnewStation:

Mike Metras ... is "looking for Rene Strous. I did not know Rene nor whether he (she) was a military person. I acquired a Maria Theresa dollar (a trade coin used in Ethiopia) that has a planed surface with the engraving "Rene Strous/10 Jun 1964/Asmara, Ethiopia." So all I really know is that Rene was in Asmara on June 10, 1964. I would like to know the history of the coin and of Rene's encounter with it in Asmara. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me."

I heard nothing about it for a long time. In fact, I had forgotten it. Then in May 2007, I got an email from David Strous, the father of Rene. David had read the KagnewStation note. It was his.

In his second email he wrote, "To answer some of your questions: First of all my memory failed me. The coin was given to me from an Italian neighbor girl for my daughter's birth ... in Asmara. ... She took it to a jeweler in Asmara and you read the inscription. I saved it till my daughter was married then presented it to her. Her husband was in the US Navy stationed in Norfolk, Va. A so-called friend stole the coin along with her jewelry and that was the last we heard of it till now. It was stolen around 1985/86."

My part in the story began around 1992 when the then owner described it as one of his Maria Theresa's at a Chicago Coin Club meeting at that time. He also knew nothing of its origin and was looking for information about it. A few years later I purchased the coin from him. He has since died at 86. He was a long-time pharmacist in Chicago who collected coins for many years. I do not know where or when he got the coin originally. The coin stayed with me as I lived in Germany and Europe for the past few years. Then the email.

I have finally returned to the US where I had stored the coin in late 2006. I sent it to David last month. He and his daughter are happy to have it back. ... But the story has one final kicker. I know the woman who gave the coin to David in the first place! We met on the Internet when I was posting some Kagnew letters a few years ago. Small world indeed!

Here is that coin...

Coin Image