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Still Mine at Heart—The Saga of My Stolen Badge

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By Guest Blogger Hermine McLarty Granberry, Mississippi

Here I was, out of town, sitting in an auditorium on a Saturday between events at my daughter’s dance competition, checking emails. An email from my Kappa sister, Fraternity Vice President Elizabeth Bailey, Mississippi, simply asked, “Does this badge on eBay look familiar?” I gasped out loud when I opened the photo attachment. There was my chapter’s ruby scholarship award badge that had been stolen with my luggage in 1980 when I was a junior in college. I had attended Kappa’s General Convention in West Palm Beach, Fla. when my bag was stolen between the hotel and the airport.

The next 24 hours was a quick lesson in pin collectors, eBay auctions, and how to protect your badge. While I was willing to bid to get the badge back, I knew that the price would quickly escalate out of my price range. The next day, I watched on my iPhone as the final minute of the auction ticked down and the price jumped to $1,034. The badge I had lost 32 years ago was gone again.

While I was saddened to see the badge slip away, I was also encouraged to know it still existed. When that ruby badge was stolen, I also lost my mother’s charter badge. Ironically, nine years later in 1989, burglars broke into my house, and my own Kappa badge was among the jewelry stolen. Might these badges still exist, too?

The lesson learned from this experience was to get my records in order. I’m working now to gather insurance papers, police reports, etc., from those thefts long ago because if and when those badges appear in an auction or in a pawn shop, I’ll have ready the proof of ownership to retrieve them. I’m also providing that information to the Golden Key Alumnae Association/Keepers of the Key in case they spot my badges in an auction. So, no matter how long ago you lost your badge, get your records together and register with Golden Key. You never know when they may email you a photo of your golden key. It can happen.

To register your badge with the Golden Key Alumnae Association or join their efforts of badge rescue, return, disposition and appreciation, visit: http://associations.kappakappagamma.org/goldenkey/pages/keepers-of-the-key.php

Posted by Blog Admin at 07/11/2014 12:14:46 PM | 


I'm so sorry for your loss & re-loss. Couldn't the Fraternity verify an ownership claim on members behalf? I'd like to know more about this, because I think you should be able to have Ebay stop the auction if the Fraternity verifies the badge number on the back. Of course, that probably still wouldn't help you with recovery unless you could force Ebay to reveal the auction lister's identity. Good Luck to you!
Posted by: Erica ( Email ) at 3/4/2013 6:00 PM


Thank you, Hermine, for sharing your story and the mission of "Keepers of the Key" of Golden Key Association. We never give up hope...our eyes are everywhere!!
Posted by: Mary Silzel ( Email ) at 3/4/2013 6:14 PM


Hello Kappas! I'm a Delta Zeta so I apologize for crashing your page but I just read Mrs. Granberry's post about her scholarship award badge and I realized that I had to respond.

Mrs. Granberry, I am so sorry for for what happened with your (and your mother's) badges. My heart absolutely sank when I read that your scholarship award badge ended up on That Website That I Will Not Name because I guessed what the outcome would be.

I just don't understand what these pin collectors are thinking. Sure, they are beautiful pieces of jewelry, but they are so much more to those of us who understand the significance of them and are a part of the bond that they represent. It's common knowledge that we don't want our badges in the hands of non-members and it is sad that people are willing to be so disrespectful to make a buck.

I first read a newspaper article about your Keepers of the Key several years ago and I think it is so admirable that Kappas are banding together to keep their Keys within the family. I wish you the best of luck!
Posted by: Tracy Alder ( Email ) at 3/5/2013 11:17 AM


I am also a victim of a key theft. Thanks so much for the information. They also stole my biological father's Sigma Chi pin that he pinned my mother with (he died in 1961).

I have also heard of many angels who have bought pins on these sites as well as flea markets with the sole purpose of returning them to their owners. Bless them and maybe we too can help that way.
Posted by: Kim Adler Schaeffer ( Email ) at 3/5/2013 5:11 PM


Thank you for the information. I also had my pin stolen when my house was burglarized. I wish, so much, that somehow I could recover it.
Posted by: Jennifer Vernon ( Email ) at 10/9/2015 9:45 PM


I looked for my stolen key, including my field secretary insignia after it was stolen in San Rafael, CA in 1976. I sent all the surrounding pawnshops drawings and hoped for the best. I continue to scan all vintage jewelry cases at festivals and shops, in hopes. Now that there is ebay and such, perhaps more lost keys will surface. For all of us, a small item that holds big memories.
Posted by: Peggy Riechers Watters ( Email | Visit ) at 3/8/2016 3:48 PM


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