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the study of currency
In numismatics, token coins or trade tokens are coin-like objects used instead of coins. The field of token coins is part of exonumia and token coins are token money. Their denomination is shown or implied by size, color or shape. They are often made of cheaper metals like copper, pewter, aluminium, brass and tin, or non-metals like bakelite, leather and porcelain.
A legal tender coin is issued by a governmental authority and is freely exchangeable for goods. A token coin has a narrower utility and is issued by a private entity. In many instances, token coins have become obsolete due to the use of cash, payment cards, stored value cards or other electronic transactions.
Coin-like objects from the Roman Empire called spintriae have been interpreted as an early form of token. Their functions are not documented, but they appear to have been brothel tokens or possibly gaming tokens.
Medieval English monasteries issued tokens to pay for services from outsiders. These tokens circulated in nearby villages, where they were called "Abbot's money". Also, counters called jetons were used as small change without official blessing.
From the 17th to the early 19th century in the British Isles (and also elsewhere in the British Empire) and North America, tokens were commonly issued by merchants in times of acute shortage of coins of the state. These tokens were in effect a pledge redeemable in goods, but not necessarily for currency. These tokens never received official sanction from government but were accepted and circulated quite widely.
In England, the production of copper farthings was permitted by royal licence in the first few decades of the 17th century, but production ceased during the English Civil War and a great shortage of small change resulted. This shortage was felt more keenly because of the rapid growth of trade in the towns and cities, and this in turn prompted both local authorities and merchants to issue tokens.
These tokens were most commonly made of copper or brass, but pewter, lead and occasionally leather tokens are also found. Most were not given a specific denomination and were intended to substitute for farthings, but there are also a large number of halfpenny and sometimes penny tokens. Halfpenny and penny tokens usually, but not always, bear the denomination on their face.
Most such tokens show the issuer's full name or initials. Where initials were shown, it was common practice to show three initials: the first names of husband and wife and their surname. Tokens would also normally indicate the merchant establishment, either by name or by picture. Most were round, but they are also found in square, heart or octagonal shapes.
Thousands of towns and merchants issued these tokens from 1648 until 1672, when official production of farthings resumed, and private production was suppressed.
There were again coin shortages in the late 18th century, when the British Royal Mint almost ceased production. Merchants once again produced tokens, but they were now machine made and typically larger than their 17th century predecessors, with values of a halfpenny or more. While many were used in trade, they were also produced for advertising and political purposes, and some series were produced for the primary purpose of sale to collectors. These tokens are usually known as Conder tokens, after the writer of the first reference book on them.
These were issued by merchants in payment for goods with the agreement that they would be redeemed in goods to an equivalent value at the merchants' own outlets. The tokens play a role of convenience, allowing the seller to receive his goods at a rate and time convenient to himself, and the merchant to tie the holder of the token coin to his shop.
In North America, tokens were originally issued by merchants from the 18th century in regions where national or local colonial governments did not issue enough small denomination coins for circulation. In the United States, Hard times tokens issued from 1832 to 1844 and Civil War tokens issued in the 1860s made up for shortages of official money.
Tokens were also used as company scrip to pay labor for use only in company stores owned by the employers.
The collecting of trade tokens is part of the field of exonumia, and includes other types of tokens, including transit tokens, encased cents, and many others. In a narrow sense, trade tokens are "good for" tokens, issued by merchants. Generally, they have a merchant's name or initials, sometimes a town and state, and a value legend (such as "good for 5¢" or other denomination) somewhere on the token. Merchants that issued tokens included 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. There were thousands of small general and merchandise stores all over the United States, and many of them used trade tokens to promote trade and extend credit to customers. Aluminum tokens almost always date after 1890, when low-cost production began. Wooden nickels, another type of token, were usually issued by a merchant or bank as a promotion, sometimes redeemable for a specific item.
Metal token coins are used in lieu of cash in some coin-operated arcade games and casino slot machines. Money is exchanged for the token coins or chips in a casino where they may be interchangeable with money.
In many jurisdictions, casinos are not permitted to use currency in slot machines, necessitating tokens for smaller denominations. After the increase in the value of silver ended the use of silver coins in the United States around 1964, casinos rushed to find a substitute, as most slot machines at that time used that particular coin. The Nevada State Gaming Control Board consulted with the U.S. Treasury, and casinos were soon allowed to start using their own tokens to operate their slot machines. The Franklin Mint was the main minter of casino tokens at that time.
In 1971, many casinos adopted the Eisenhower Dollar for use in machines and on tables. When that coin was replaced with the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979, most casinos reinstituted tokens, fearing confusion with quarters and not wishing to extensively retool their slot machines. Casinos which still use tokens in slot machines still use Eisenhower-sized ones.
Tokens are being phased out by many casinos in favor of coinless machines which accept banknotes and print receipts for payout. These receipts, abbreviated "TITOs" for ticket-in, ticket-out, can also be inserted into the machines. In video arcades, they are also being phased out in favor of magnetic cards, which can also count how many tickets one has, allowing arcades to also do away with paper tickets.
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, medals and related objects.
Sterling is the currency of the United Kingdom and nine of its associated territories. The pound is the main unit of sterling, and the word "pound" is also used to refer to the British currency generally, often qualified in international contexts as the British pound or the pound sterling. In British English, its most common nickname is "quid."
Casino chips are small discs used in terms of currency in casinos. Colored metal, injection-molded plastic or compression molded clay tokens of various denominations are used primarily in table games, as opposed to metal token coins, used primarily in slot machines. Casino tokens are also widely used as play money in casual or tournament games.
Exonumia are numismatic items other than coins and paper money. This includes "Good For" tokens, badges, counterstamped coins, elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, wooden nickels and other similar items. It is an aspect of numismatics and many coin collectors are also exonumists.
A scrip is any substitute for legal tender. It is often a form of credit. Scrips have been created and used for a variety of reasons, including exploitive payment of employees under truck systems; or for use in local commerce at times when regular currency was unavailable, for example in remote coal towns, military bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in wartime. Besides company scrip, other forms of scrip include land scrip, vouchers, token coins such as subway tokens, IOUs, arcade tokens and tickets, and points on some credit cards.
Notgeld refers to money issued by an institution in a time of economic or political crisis. The issuing institution is usually one without official sanction from the central government. This usually occurs when not enough state-produced money is available from the central bank. In particular, notgeld generally refers to money produced in Germany and Austria during World War I and the Interwar period. Issuing institutions could be a town's savings banks, municipalities and private or state-owned firms. Nearly all issues contained an expiry date, after which time they were invalid. Issues without dates ordinarily had an expiry announced in a newspaper or at the place of issuance.
The convertible peso was one of two official currencies in Cuba, the other being the Cuban peso. It had been in limited use since 1994, when its value was pegged 1:1 to the United States dollar.
The króna is the currency of the Faroe Islands. It is issued by Danmarks Nationalbank, the central bank of Denmark. It is not a separate currency, but is rather a local issue of banknotes denominated in the Danish krone, although Danish-issued coins are still used. Consequently, it does not have an ISO 4217 currency code and instead shares that of the Danish krone, DKK. This means that in the Faroe Islands, credit cards are charged in Danish kroner. The króna is subdivided into 100 oyru(r).
The Jamaican dollar has been the currency of Jamaica since 1969. It is often abbreviated to J$, the J serving to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents, although cent denominations are no longer in use as of 2018. Goods and services may still be priced in cents, but cash transactions are now rounded to the nearest dollar.
The British farthing was a British coin worth a quarter of an old penny. It ceased to be struck after 1956 and was demonetised from 1 January 1961.
Irish coins have been issued by a variety of local and national authorities, the ancient provincial Kings and High Kings of Ireland, the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1801), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922), the Irish Free State (1922–1937), and the present Republic of Ireland. Since 2002, the Republic of Ireland has minted Euro coins, featuring symbols such as flax and the harp.
Newfoundland, as a separate British colony, produced its own decimal currency between 1865 and 1947. The coins of Newfoundland are of historical importance as Newfoundland was a British colony until 1907, and a Dominion until 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province of Canada.
The pound was the official currency of Jamaica between 1840 and 1969. It circulated as a mixture of sterling coinage and locally issued coins and banknotes and was always equal to the pound sterling. The Jamaican pound was also used in the Cayman and Turks and Caicos Islands.
The real was the official currency of Gibraltar until 1825 and continued to circulate alongside other Spanish and British currencies until 1898.
Shinplaster was paper money of low denomination, typically less than one dollar, circulating widely in the economies of the 19th century where there was a shortage of circulating coinage. The shortage of circulating coins was primarily due to the intrinsic value of metal rising above the value of the coin itself. People became incentivized to take coins out of circulation and melt them for the true intrinsic value. This left no medium of exchange for the purchase of basic consumer goods such as milk and newspapers. To fill this gap, banks issued low-denomination paper currency.
Bi-metallic coins are coins consisting of two (bi-) metals or alloys, generally arranged with an outer ring around a contrasting center. Common circulating examples include the €1, €2, United Kingdom £1 and £2, Canadian $2, South Africa R5, Turkish 1 lira and 50 kurus, Indian ₹10 and ₹20, Indonesian Rp1,000, Polish 2 and 5 zł, Czech 50 Kč, Hungarian 100 and 200 Ft, Bulgarian 1 and 2 lv., Hong Kong $10, Argentine $1 and $2, Brazilian R$1, Chilean $100 and $500, Colombian $500 and $1000, Peruvian S/2 and S/5, Albanian 100 Lekë, and all Mexican coins of $1 or higher denomination.
Conder tokens, also known as 18th-century provincial tokens, were a form of privately minted token coinage struck and used during the later part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century in England, Anglesey and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Medal games are a type of arcade game commonly found in amusement arcades and casinos, especially in Japan. In order to play a medal game, a customer must first exchange their cash into medals. The rate of medals versus cash varies from arcade to arcade, but usually the cheapest range is from ¥300 all the way up to ¥10,000.
The Wizard of Oz is an arcade coin pusher game based on the 1939 film that awards token chips and cards that are redeemable for prizes. The player shoots coins into the machine which drops chips and cards. The player collects the cards and chips that can be redeemed later for prizes. The coins are retained by the machine. Most arcades that have this game will award a jackpot for collecting the entire series of cards. It can be played by up the six players. The game is developed by Elaut Belgium and released in the fall of 2010. According to the company's press release, the game was very well received by players and amusement centers.
Bamboo tallies, alternatively known as bamboo tokens or bamboo money, were a type of alternative currency that was produced in Eastern China from the 1870s until the 1940s and were used to supplement Chinese cash coins and other small denomination Chinese currencies in a manner similar to paper money. Some bamboo tallies were issued in denominations of wén (文) or "strings of cash coins" (串), some bamboo tallies were denominated in qián (錢), tóngyuán, jiǎo (角), and yáng, other than in money bamboo tallies could also be dominated in tea bags. During the same time as bamboo tallies were issued other local businesses manufactured paper money denominated in fēn (分) while others used either copper tokens or money made from bones in a similar fashion.