Tokens

Tokens are an interesting side of coin collecting because they are not usually coins but used to take the place of coins for various purposes.

They come in a very wide degree of categories.

There are church and communion, transport including train, bus and ferry which usually have holes of many different shapes and sizes punched in them.

There were those made to substitute for money and used for a loaf of bread. Many of these had a loaf of bread on one side.

Vending machine used them to test the weights against regular coinage.

There are gambling chips from just about everywhere.

There are arcade pieces for use only inside an arcade of vending machines.

They were also used to cover the shortage of coinage during the American civil war and they are quite collectable. Many of these resemble the Indian Head Cent which was in use at the time.

There are pieces which have the name of a particular business on them which are called store cards and they were issued for just about every business so collectors can literally pick a subject area to collect.

My favourite are the Love tokens.

It just seems natural that when a guy is separated for long periods from his lady that he, while thinking of her, would make something special and individual just for her.

Most of these pieces come on coinage which has had one side rubbed smooth and covers just about every denomination of US and many foreign coins.

Once one side of the coin is rubbed smooth a fine engraving is done on the smoothed side almost always in Old English or Florentine lettering of the ladies initials which are then surrounded by spirals and other embellishments to make this coin a really special gift whenever he is able to get home.

This practice must have been very common in the 1800’s because I have been able to acquire so many nice pieces on coins of this period.