Looking Back … 1945

As the year begins, Adolf Hitler takes residence in his underground bunker in Berlin. Franklin D. Roosevelt is sworn in for a fourth term as president, but dies shortly after his inauguration. U.S. Marines capture Iwo Jima and raise the American flag. Nazi Germany surrenders in May, followed by Japan in August. At the Academy Awards, Going My Way wins Best Picture, and Yosemite Sam and Casper the Friendly Ghost debut as animated cartoon characters. Oklahoma State takes the NCAA men’s basketball championship, and on the radio, Doris Day and big band leader Les Brown top the charts with “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time.” 


Writer E.B. White’s dream about a tiny boy who acted like a rat became his classic 1945 children’s novel Stuart Little. An original Garth Williams illustration for that book sold for $65,725 at a February 2011 Heritage auction.


The Mercury dime was minted for nearly 30 years before the Treasury ordered a new design to honor President Roosevelt. Pristine dimes from 1945, the last year of production, are highly prized and this example, graded MS 67 Full Bands PCGS, sold for $43,125 at an April 2001 auction.


Comics did their part in the war effort. The cover of Exciting Comics #39 (Nedor/Better/Standard) by Alex Schomburg finds Black Terror busting up a squad of Nazi soldiers injecting poison into candy bars. This copy, graded CGC NM- 9.2, sold for $19,717.50 at a May 2015 Heritage auction.


Christian Frederick Martin Sr. was a German immigrant who started making guitars in the United States in the 1830s. Today, the company’s vintage guitars are highly collectible. A 1945 Martin D-28 acoustic sold for $30,000 at a July 2014 auction.