Collecting "Good For" Tokens
Collecting tokens is a challenging hobby since everyone keeps looking for that “elusive” token needed to fill their collection. There are many common tokens available to collectors, but the “harder to find or next to impossible ones” really inspires a collector to keep pursuing this great hobby.
Tokens of various sizes, metals, shapes, merchants, etc. have been around since the mid 1800’s. Although tokens began to phase out in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, there are still some modern tokens today.
I personally collect Louisiana “Good For” tokens. When I mention the “good fors” these are the ones that have the merchant’s name, usually the city and state, value and what the token is “good for” such as good for one cigar, good for one drink, and other offers.
Attend any coin show and find tokens in dealer’s bargain/junk boxes for as little as 25 cents each. There are thousands in this category. However, most of the harder to find tokens average between $10.00 and $25.00 or more in some instances. It really depends on just how much a collector wants a certain token and how much he/she is willing to pay for it. I have passed on many a token! An interesting story in token “economics” happened last year when a customer emailed me wanting to know the value of a Louisiana token. I offered $40.00 plus postage cost but never heard back. I later found out that the token was listed on ebay and sold for $11.00. Go figure! I don’t buy or sell anything on ebay if I can help it!
As far as varieties of tokens go, you can collect merchants, cities, states, regions, saloons, schools, dairies, pickers, billiards, grocers or pictorials. The field is extensive so begin with something that has meaning to you.
There are many books on various states available to the token collector. Check our books page, or your local library for resources.