St. George family believes they found long-lost charm on eBay

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ST. GEORGE — Photos usually tell the stories of our loved ones.

Joan Eccles has plenty of pictures that tell the tale of Agnes Inez Redfern and Augusto William Conti, her mom and stepdad.

"That was around (1944)," she explained as she sat with her daughters this week, looking through the images.

Eccles, however, can tell the story of her stepfather another way—through a charm he sent for Valentine's Day in 1944 while at war in New Guinea.

"We received in the mail two charms," Eccles said. "One was for me, and he had them made there. I'm sure the military—they were out in the jungles—and the military probably had someone making all these charms and stuff. And so he had them made out of a coin from Australia. It's a silver coin and (he) had them engraved and sent one to me and one to my mother."

One was inscribed, "New Guinea, To My Darling Joan, 1944," and the other said, "New Guinea, To My Darling Wife, 1944."

Though Eccles kept her charm for the past 80 years, she believed her mother's charm was lost in her estate sometime after she died in Georgia in 1963. That was until recently when Eccles found herself at the keyboard with one of her favorite pastimes.

"She likes to look up the value of everything, and if there's something to be found, she finds it," her daughter, Vikki Fredrickson, said.

Eccles herself admitted she 'Googles' everything and was stunned by what she found as an eBay listing.

"Up popped this one charm, and it said, 'to my wife,' and that's what my mother's charm said," Eccles said.

One of the engraved charms that was gifted was made from a coin.
One of the engraved charms that was gifted was made from a coin. (Photo: Jackson Grimm, KSL-TV)

She told her daughters.

"She was like, 'You think it's hers?'" daughter Staci Wilson said. "I go, 'It's got to be, who else could this be?' She remembered the inscription. She told us about it before we even saw it."

The daughters decided to buy it and give it to Joan for Mother's Day.

They now firmly believe it's the charm Eccles's stepfather gave to her mother eight decades ago that somehow wound up in the hands of a seller in California.

"I mean, (it's) the same coin, same year, same writing, same design," Wilson said. "(The seller) said, 'Yeah, it was just at a flea market, a gal was getting rid of all of her stuff, and that was one of the things."

The family is still in disbelief that the charm's long journey eventually made it back to where it was intended.

"I mean, it's just traveled from New Guinea to Georgia to somehow, you know, California, now us," Wilson said.

Fredrickson also thought the journey and the story of the charm returning to Eccles was remarkable.

"It's a story of hearts coming back together, where both physically and literally she has a memory back, and we have this to continue on in our family for decades, years to come," Fredrickson said.


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Andrew Adams
Andrew Adams is an award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV. For two decades, he's covered a variety of stories for KSL, including major crime, politics and sports.


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