A former St. Louis Museum of Transportation tour guide was ordered Thursday to serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to stealing six Civil War-era coins, valued at $18,844, which belonged to the American Numismatic Association Money Museum.
The four-panel ANA traveling exhibit, “Money of the U.S. Civil War,” was scheduled to open at the St. Louis museum last June. The coins – a silver dollar and five gold coins dating between 1849 and 1862 – disappeared just before the museum’s 5 p.m. closing time on June 11, one day before the traveling exhibit was to open to the public.
Police said there was no evidence of a break-in. After information about the theft was released, the coins were anonymously returned about a month later.
James H. Strassner, 68, was arrested in July and indicted by a grand jury last month on one felony charge of stealing more than $500. He was given a suspended imposition of sentence, meaning if he meets the terms of his probation, his record will be cleared. He also has been ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and to attend a theft seminar.
The ANA’s traveling exhibit program includes 10 small, educational exhibits available for a nominal rental fee to member clubs, museums, libraries, schools and cultural organizations. In all cases, the borrowing organization is responsible for any loss or damage to exhibit items while in its possession.
The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its 28,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or or go to www.money.org.