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Trade Tokens. About 1885 merchants all over the United States started using a form of advertising called a trade token (or chit, or bingle, or "good for"). When a customer bought something, they were given a token that resembled a coin. On the obverse, the token gave such information as the name of the business, address, town and state. On the reverse, something like "good for 5¢ in trade" or "good for 1 cigar" were often used. When the customer returned to the store, they were given credit or their purchase was discounted by the amount stated on the token.
The sizes, shapes and materials that were used to make trade tokens varied. The sizes ranged from smaller than a dime to larger than a silver dollar. Common shapes were round, square, scalloped, oval and rectangular. The majority were round. Although most tokens were bronze or aluminum, other materials such as paper, fiber, zinc, copper and bi-metals (bronze and aluminum) were also used.
Some of the common "good fors" were in trade, in merchandise, in cash, a cigar, a pint or a quart of milk, a tune, a shave, and a drink. Many others such as 1 box of peaches, one card game, 1 pack of cranberries, one manicure and one loaf of bread are known.
The most common would be "good for 5¢ in trade," with 2½¢, 6¼¢, 10¢, 12½¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1.00 also reasonably common and easily found. Although many other denominations exist, they are harder to find.
Pages in category "Trade Tokens"
The following 144 pages are in this category, out of 144 total.