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Rare Coins Stolen from Truman Library

Nov. 12, 1962 - A collection of rare coins was stolen early today from the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo. John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration, who had assembled the coins since 1920 and lent them to the library, said the collection was not insured. The collection contained regular and commemorative coins from the administrations of every President. Former President Truman, preparing to return home from a visit to New York, said the collection had a value “way over $100,000.” “It is one of the most valuable coin collections of its kind in the country,” he said. Mr. Truman was asked if he would appeal to the thieves to return the collection. “No,” he responded. “It is in the hands of the Federal Government now. It’s up to the F.B.I. to get the collection back.” The theft was termed “quick and quite professional” by local policemen who investigated before agents of the F.B.I. arrived. The thieves cut a small hole in a fence to enter the garden area of the library. A drill was used to bore through the lock of a glass and aluminum door to release a bolt. The thieves then passed through the garden room into the Presidential Room of the library, where they pried the backs off two coin cases. Large Lucite panels on which the coins were fastened were carried outside, removed, and left inside the fenced garden. Herb Dunlap, a General Services Administration guard, said he visited the Presidential Room at 3:15 a.m. and found the panels in place. On his tour at 3:55 a.m., he found the cases opened. The police said the door opened by the burglars opened on a seldom used and poorly lighted side street. The front of the library, brightly lighted, faces busy U.S. Highway 24.


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