Dating Tokens

U. S. Trade Tokens For Sale
Find Good For Tokens – General
Store Tokens & Trade Tokens

U. S. Pool & Billiard Tokens
Find Pool Hall Tokens – Brunswick
Balke & H.W. Collender Tokens

U. S. Saloon Tokens For Sale
Find Saloon tokens, Bar Tokens
Good For One Drink Tokens

Dating tokens as to the year of issue is a very inexact science since few tokens were dated as issued. Of those tokens that bear dates, the majority are patent dates such as on Ingle System tokens or bi-metallic issues, not the year of striking.

Tools generally used in the dating of tokens include directory listings, other historical records, and interviews with token issuers or their family members. Another useful method is developing a knowledge of diework, i.e., the physical appearance of the token. Usually this is accomplished by determining that several merchants using the same diework were in business for only a few years, thereby implying that any other issues with the same style were struck in the same time period.

Another aid in dating tokens is the composition of the token itself. Although aluminum was used in the manufacture of tokens beginning in the late 1880s, the majority of aluminum tokens from Louisiana date from the twentieth century. Conversely, german silver (an alloy described as “white metal” in the listings) became so expensive (compared to brass, bronze, and aluminum) that its use in the manufacture of tokens virtually ceased after about 1910, although transportation, parking, and car wash tokens were struck in a nickel alloy (also designated as “white metal”) in later years. Fiber, steel, and zinc were predominately used during the mid- and latter stages of World War II when other metals were rationed for the war effort. While most bi-metallic issues contain the phrases “Pat. July 1899” or “Pat. Appl’d. For,” both dies continued to be used for issues documented to be from as late as the 1930s. Plastic tokens began to appear in the mid-1950s, and anodized aluminum “Mardi Gras” type issues came into popular use ten years later.


Saloon Token - Jesse Hagar, Prop Favorite Saloon Lake Charles, LA
Saloon Token – Jesse Hagar, Prop Favorite Saloon
Lake Charles, LA – 1880s to 1906