Cardboard OPA tokens

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by eddiespin, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Just thought one or two of you might like to see these. Same looks on both sides. These were issued by the Office of Price Administration from '42-'45 (IIRC) and were used for such things as canned goods, tires, gas, what have you. Enjoy. :)

    Attached Files:

  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide this ad.
  3. hontonai

    hontonai Registered Contrarian

    The ration books the government issued during most of the war years came filled with different-colored stamps with different point values good for different things. Each household received an allotment based on the number of people residing there. (I have no idea what the homeless did as I wasn't conscious of their existence back then.)

    In general meats and fats required red stamps and processed fruits/vegetables called for blue stamps. Each stamp had a multi-point value, and the one-point fiber tokens Eddiespin posted were issued as "change". Stamps were postage-stamp size, and the tokens are the diameter of a dime, but nearly as thick as a nickel. Stamps had expiration dates, but the tokens didn't.

    Other colored stamps were needed for many items, including clothing and shoes. Separate coupon books were used for gasoline, along with small window stickers indicating the category of gas stamps the vehicle owner was allowed to use.

    Grocery stores, clothing stores, and other rationed goods sellers would display an item's price in both dollars and (constantly changing) ration point requirements.

    Merchants had to paste the stamps they collected into books similar (but larger) than the ones later used for S&H Green Stamps (and their competitors). Our neighborhood grocer used to let me help him by licking the stamps and putting them in the books - lots of fun for a pre-teen!.

    Most people had "A", "B" or "C" gasoline stickers and stamps, with "A" category allowing less than one full tank per month and "C" allowing pretty much unlimited purchases for people with "critical" needs.

    An interesting point about gas rationing is that in those days since most oil used in the US came from domestic wells, gasoline wasn't really in short enough supply to require rationing; but tires required natural rubber, and the Japanese had conquered most of the world's rubber producing areas. Dangerous ocean shipping was needed from the remaining available sources. The theory was that the need for tire production was reduced by the restrictive effect on driving resulting from the gasoline rationing.

    Anyone really interested can check out this detailed explanation of the rationing system.
  4. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Fascinating first-hand portrait, hontonai, thank you for that. I found that link interesting, too (and I don't just mean that snapshot of Rita Hayworth :)).

    Listen, do you happen to know, specifically, what the TX and UC symbols on the tokens refer to? I always wondered about that.
  5. hontonai

    hontonai Registered Contrarian

    The experts have various theories.

    My guess is that they are a manufacturing code, but I really don't know.
  6. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Greast Britain issued rationing stamps and tokrns troo during WWII...

    Clinker
  7. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    The unlimited gas rationing sticker was the X sticker.

    This was why during the war there was a crash program to devlop synthetic rubber and to build production plants. This resulted in the rationing of another another product. Soap chips were used as an emulsifying agent in the production of synthetic rubber. So soap was rationed.

    There is one small error on that US-History site. Under recycling there was no such thing at the time as an aluminum can. The cans being recycled were steel cans commonly called tin cans.

    No one has ever found an official explaination for the check letters. When a request was made from the government in the 1970's for an explaination it was refused on the grounds of national security. Unfortunately the Osbourne Corporation who made the tokens has disposed of their records. personally I think the two rare combinations MM and MV are rare because they are errors. If you chart out the letter combinations they form a nice simple patter, except for the MM and MV. These are the only two combinations that start with M. ALL of the double letter combinations (CC HH etc) are blue tokens with the exception of the MM. There is one obviously missing blue combination WV. I think the M's were supposed to be W's.

    And long afterwards. Britain did not finally fully emerge from the rationing system until the late 1950's

    There is a specialized group that deals with the collecting of ration tokens and other related material, The Society of Ration Token Collectors.
    http://www.allbusiness.com/membership-organizations/membership-organizations/4044002-1.html

    http://collectingclubs.com/Show_Club.asp?ID=374&fmt=1

    I'm not sure which of those is current which is bad considering I'm a member.
  8. hontonai

    hontonai Registered Contrarian

    Correct. The "C" did allow considerably more than the "A" or "B", however. Truckers handling defense related or other "essential" goods got "T" stamps; and "X" recipients were mostly public safety personnel, although Congressmen briefly got them, before public outrage got too strong.
  9. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Great information, guys, thanks! And hontonai, you're batting 1000 on these links, thanks for that one, too, it at least mentions these letters.

Share This Page