Wayne County, IL


Trade tokens

Picture courtesy of Michael J. Von Gebel


Trade tokens are kind of like early coupons, issued by merchants. Generally they have a merchant's name or initials, sometimes a town and state, and a value, such as "good for 10 cents" (or other denominations). Tokens were issued by general stores, grocers, department stores, dairies, meat markets, drug stores, saloons, bars, taverns, barbers, coal mines, lumber mills and many other businesses. The era of 1870 through 1920 marked the highest use of "trade tokens" in the United States, spurred by the proliferation of small stores in rural areas. Thousands of small general stores and merchandise stores were to be found all over the United States, and many of them used trade tokens to promote trade and extend credit to customers.  This particular trade token was from my cousin who operated a small dry goods store in New Madison, OH and is made out of brass.




No portions of these pages may be reproduced
 electronically, for print, or for other websites, without the express written consent of Michael J. Von Gebel.

All Pages Copyright January, 2009
All Rights Reserved