That there is a market for material that is connected to painful parts of history might come as a surprise to some people.
A token from an Isle of Man internment camp operated by the British during World War II is one such piece.
The token is among dozens of lots of Anti-Semitic and related items offered by William M. Rosenblum LLC Rare Coins in a coming auction.
Sale 45a closes July 16 at midnight Mountain Time. Rosenblum specializes in Judaica, and veers into related pieces recalling hatred and atrocities toward Jews throughout history.
“We are often asked, ‘why do people collect this stuff?’” Rosenblum writes in the catalog.
“There is really no one answer to that. Most people collect them to use as teaching tools in homes, schools, synagogues, churches and museums. There are people who still deny the existences or the magnitude of the Holocaust and these are weapons against them.”
The undated (1941) brass halfpenny token is from Onchan, a village on the Isle of Man, which is situated between Great Britain and Ireland.
The British interment camp at Onchan was the first and largest on the Isle of Man, and was created by evacuating residents and surrounding their houses with barbed wire, according to Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp Money of World War II by Ray and Steve Feller. Internees were housed in the homes evacuated by their original residents.
The halfpence is the scarcest denomination of three tokens issued for use in the camp. It has a mintage of 2,000 pieces, according to the Fellers.
Operated by Britain, the camp was used to house mainly German internees, as they were the enemy during World War II.