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auto save interval

When I do a

M-X Set Variable$auto save interval$50

I get no auto saves at all, but when I do a

M-5 M-0 M-X Set Variable$auto save interval

it works as I expected.

Is this the expected behavior?  Is the first "50" a string argument
and therefore not interpreted correctly by EMACS while the second one
is numeric and interpreted correctly?  They both look the same if I do
a View Variable.


P.S. Yes, I used escapes, but I put dollar signs in this message to
     make sure that the mailer wouldn't barf.