FRANCE encased postage Credit Lyonnais 1920s


FRANCE, encased postage, no date (1920s), Obverse: 5 centimes S159, Reverse: EMPRUNT NATIONAL 6% 1920 CRÉDIT LYONNAIS “FYP” BTÉ S.G.D.G. PARIS SOUSCRIVEZ, rounded letters, aluminum shell with shiny surface, gold anodized on obverse, plastic window, 33mm, AU

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There was a coin shortage all over France in 1919-21. Cities, regions, and private companies issued tokens and paper chits during this period.

France has been a hotbed of numismatic activity since Celtic times in the 3rd century BC. People making their own coins (tokens imitations counterfeits) was a normal activity wherever and whenever there was a coin shortage. Keeping in mind of course in this coinless age that coins were THE way people did business until the 20th century. In France they were using tokens in the normal local way we think of tokens being used from the 15th century.

A token is used like a coin but is not a coin. Rather it stands for a coin without the value of the coin. Maybe its copper but says its value is the same as a silver coin. Usually tokens were made privately but sometimes governments got involved.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending 3. other things that we are interested in.