This Charlotte Observer article describes a WWII veteran 1990 souvenir cent's journey back to the family of its owner in Fort Mill, SC.
An extraordinary coin now belongs to a Fort Mill man who didn’t know it existed two weeks ago. A coin to remind him of the extraordinary
man who lost it.
“We never knew it was there,” said Howard Wilford, showing off what he calls the patriotic penny bearing his father’s name. “We never knew it was
in circulation. We never knew anything about it. We still don’t know much about it.”
Earlier this month, the Humboldt Chronicle published an article about a Vietnam veteran with a rare coin who was looking for the Wilford
family. It detailed the penny’s trip from spare change in Alabama to Humboldt, a small city in western Tennessee.
Nellie Thomas manages Waddell Gardens, an apartment community for seniors in Humboldt. She said she heard resident and part-time
maintenance worker Larry Sikes describe the coin he traded with his brother for a woodworked piece. On the coin, etched into what appears to be a
rear face insert is the name, rank and service of Sgt. Clifford Wilford.
Thomas helped Sikes find information from several sources on the decorated World War II veteran, including the Veterans History Project. A packet
of information included Wilford’s July 2017 obituary. The obituary named the funeral home. A couple of phone calls later and Sikes was talking to the
Howard Wilford doesn’t know much about his new possession. It lists his father as president of the 10th Infantry Association. The date on the
typical front face of the coin is 1990. Howard Wilford guesses someone, most likely a jeweler, made the coins for some or all of the men in his
father’s infantry regiment.
Service during the war was two-sided for Clifford Wilford. It got the poor, youngest of 13 children raised on a Kentucky farm an education when he
returned. He became an electrician and worked in the Michigan auto industry. Clifford Wilford fought in the five major European battles, and was
there from D-Day to the liberation of concentration camps. He won all kinds of accolades including the French version of the Medal of Honor, La
In a world of novelty, with coin collectors and historical intrigue, Howard Wilford smiles at the thought of the coin being worth much. Then
again, it depends on who asks the question.
“It’s worth a penny,” he said. “But to me it’s priceless.”
To read the complete article, see:
Penny to ‘priceless’: How an unusual coin found its way
to Fort Mill (https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/south-carolina/article229574819.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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