The Token Economy

The title for this piece is a phrase my dad used. Like all of us, he found he needed cash, but he was a believer that it was goods and services that really mattered. He referred to all sorts to do with cash and coinage as ‘the token economy’.

So this post will be a bit about coins and also about a pot I keep a few in.

This is my little coin pot.

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I remember buying this at a childhood jumble sale and loving it. I’m not sure my parents thought much of it but I still rather like it. It was made in India.

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Inside there is an assortment of coins, gathered and kept for no particular reason. I have picked out a few old British coins which I look back on with affection.

First, there are a couple of farthings.

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There’s a George VI and an Elizabeth II coin.

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These were quite small in size and tiny in value. To get a pound you needed 960 (nine hundred and sixty) of these little beauties. What made them favourites certainly wasn’t the heads side. The reverse had a delightful image on it.

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That wren – I loved it.

I believe the last farthings were minted in 1956 and the coin ceased to be legal tender in 1960.

My other old favourite coin was the threepenny bit. I barely ever came across the old silver version. The ones I knew and loved were the nice chunky 12 sided ones. Again I have George VI and Elizabeth II examples.

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These had different reverse or tails sides and I have to say I preferred the older one.

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The plant depicted is thrift – an appropriate icon for coinage. But the Elizabeth II coin shows a portcullis.

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This coin was swept into oblivion with decimalization in 1971. A coin worth one eightieth of a pound clearly did not fit with the new scheme.

But a few coins like these do bring back happy childhood memories for me. I think a few bits of the token economy are worth keeping. Oh, there is always a chance of a bit of token value accruing. The 1948 3d coin is quite rare and it could be worth £50 if it was in mint or uncirculated condition. As it isn’t, it won’t have much value.

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