Token Money

From Marteau

[From Old-English token, taken, akin also to German Zeichen and zeigen] Money which is not issued by a state or territory and yet accepted as a medium of exchange between those who issue and those who accept it – often used in certain environments such as public transport or casinos to facilitate payments within the system and to ensure a payment in advance – a concept which has gained new popularity in the age of electronic communication with digital units issued by companies or among private groups to allow a not completely public and not fully exchangable commerce of goods, services and special gratifications between the participants involved.

Token money of a far wider exchangability was frequent in the 17th and 18th centuries and seems to have been most popular on the British Isles where the minting of small coins was neglected by the established mints due to the fact that silver pennies and farthings were hardly worth the money needed to mint these coins. The alternative was copper money issued by merchants and cities to compensate the shortage of cash – money often officially patented and thus allowed to circulate as an equivalent of money issued by the royal mints.


  • Dalton, Richard/ Hamer, S. H., The Provincial Token-Coinage of the 18th Century (Lawrence, Mass.: Quarterman Publications USA, 1977)/ Last Edition: 2004.

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