In the please-don't-eat-stuff-that-isn't-food department, Carol Bastable sent this fascinating postcard with a photo of coins and other objects found in a man's stomach.
It is a 1908 postcard about a man that most likely had a condition known as pica. People with pica eat non food items. Less harmful materials might include the consumption of dirt or paper but there are more severe instances where people consume metal and even glass as this person did. Of numismatic note are the 14 dimes (one being Canadian) and three nickels that were surgically removed from this man's stomach. This is a poor example of how to start a coin collection.
Contributing factors for pica can include nutritional deficiencies, stress, cultural influences, and even pregnancy. In 1908 this was probably a little known condition. At the very end of the text on the postcard, it is stated that Mercy Hospital in North Bend, Oregon can vouch for it. The maker of this postcard knew how incredulous this story would sound.
It was estimated that this man began consuming these items about twenty years before the surgery. Most of the dimes are Barber dimes. Of course the coins have dates on them but there is no guarantee that they were swallowed the same year that they were minted.
Two things come to mind.
1. It sounds like something for Ripley's Believe It or Not. However, Ripley did not begin his work until December 1918.
2. This is a good example of why we now have HIPAA laws to protect patient privacy.
"I see that all the reverse images are S mintmarks. That makes sense since the hospital was in Oregon and his home must have been in range of that hospital."
To read the complete lot description, see:
1908 Michigan RPPC Photo Postcard Articles Removed from Stomach of R.F. DURGA
Wayne Homren, Editor
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