GREAT BRITAIN check no date (1920s-50s?)


GREAT BRITAIN, check, no date (1920s-50s?), Obverse: STEAM SHED 3020 P. C. (all incuse), Reverse: blank, Edge: plain, round with small arc cut out of edge, brass, 44mm, called “motti,” used by railroad workers, XF

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Checks are like receipts for checked out equipment. You put your check on the board and get your gear off the shelf. Tallies are usually used to keep track of work done when its piecework, meaning you get paid for the amount of stuff you produced, not how long it took you to do it. All day in the oyster packing plant, you got 5 tallies, someone else got 3, someone else got 8. You cash them in at the window and they give you money. Or, maybe worse, they give you script you can only spend at the company strore.

In England tokens started coming into use in the 16th century. Scotland and Ireland followed suit. Since the coinage was unified throughout the country there was not as much need for jetons in the counting houses to keep track of various currencies. But the neglect of the copper level of the market made for blooms of tokens in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Each bloom was suppressed by the government, which promised to do better, and, by the mid-19th century, finally succeeded. Token use, having become normalized, continued here and there into the 1980s.

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.