Education: A Collection of Half-Dollars

He was 21, penniless and alone, when he arrived in 1906 from Russia. A gnome of a man, Charles Fraiman put a pack on his back and peddled old clothes from door to door in the outskirts of Philadelphia, until he had enough money to buy a horse and wagon and go into the junk business. He used to say he made $1.50 a day—50¢ for his horse, 50¢ for himself, and 50¢ for his savings.

The half-dollars he saved grew steadily, and for good reason. Fraiman lived like a pauper. His home was surrounded by his junkyard near Hatboro, Pa., 15...

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