This book is intended as a handy reference to company histories and dates that the tokens represent, but it is not an exhaustive study. In some cases, there was plenty of information available. In other cases, information was very hard to find, and for some tokens, no information could be found, even with exhaustive research. Supplementing the information are historic photos from a variety of sources. The author has made every effort to obtain photos of each token listed, but these efforts were not entirely successful.
It must also be noted that the author is but a novice in token collecting, but has spent considerable time researching and writing about the history of Adams County. The author’s main objective is to record the history of the tokens of Adams County. My search for information has allowed me to meet some very nice people who are extremely knowledgeable about trade tokens and have helped me obtain photos of many of the tokens found in this work. The reader is asked to take a minute to read the acknowledgment page for a list of some of the people who have made this book possible.
For the reader who may not be familiar with the original use of trade tokens, the author offers this brief explanation. The idea of the trade token was to increase the patronage and revenue of any given business. If a customer had change due from a purchase, he or she could spend that change at any business of their choosing, however, if the customer received their change in trade tokens from the original business, it meant that they could only be used at that business. In this way, the business owner could be assured of additional sales from the customer. In some cases, the proprietor would offer an additional five cents on the dollar to entice the customer back to his establishment. While the use of trade tokens started quite early, they were in general use from perhaps 1885 to 1950.
The reader will notice that no prices are given for the tokens. There are several reasons for this. Prices can change rapidly. Changing prices can render a guide out-of-date almost before it is printed. Another reason is that it is often hard for any two people to agree on the value of rare or scarce tokens. It should be noted that the reader can find rarity ratings on most of the Adams County tokens in Al Erickson’s fine book Washington State Trade Tokens. Tokens that are found individually, such as with a metal detector, are often valued higher than when found in a cache in an old cigar sale at an estate sale. In some cases, the reader will note a reference to the scarceness of a particular token. Most of these tokens have been previously unlisted and are limited to one or two known examples. Because the author has found most of his tokens with a metal detector, he values them considerably higher than many of the serious collectors who acquire their tokens in a more conventional manner.
The author draws from a background of many facets. The list includes a life-long interest in history, especially that of Adams County, and also having spent over 40 years digging and collecting old bottles and Advertising memorabilia. It should also be noted that the author has spent the last 20 years researching and writing about the history of Adams County. Because research is never really completed, the author requests that any new Adams County token finds be forwarded to him for any future updates.
One final goal of the author is to present a publication that is not only useful and fun, one that will promote an awareness of the history of our county, and one that will advance the hobby of token collecting and metal detecting. Happy collecting and here’s hoping that your next token from Adams County is one not found in this book!
This work catalogs each known token from the once thriving towns of Adams County. Included are tokens from Ritzville, Lind, Washtucna, Othello and the smaller towns such as Paha, Cunningham, Hatton, Benge and Ralston There was even a token from the diminutive burg of Marcellus. Readers will find a brief history of each town and interesting historic photographs. The tokens are listed alphabetically and include brief histories of the companies represented and in many cases actual photographs of both the obverse and reverse side of the tokens. Early ads and photographs accompany many of the tokens. Occasionally these tokens can be found at estate sales, in the bottom of an old cigar box at your grandparents, or at an antique store. While these tokens can still be found at estate sales it is, perhaps, more common for them to be found with a metal detector.
There are also photographs of some very unique items that were found by the author using his Whites metal detector.
This work will provide interesting and historical information on:
- Benge, Washington
- Cunningham, Washington
- Hatton, Washington
- Lind, Washington
- Marcellus, Washington
- Othello, Washington
- Paha, Washington
- Ralston, Washington
- Ritzville, Washington
- Washtucna, Washington
- Metal detecting
- Metal detecting stories
The book contains 102 pages, listings of over 150 tokens, an index and includes a bibliography.