"red cent" origin?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by JBZ RAID, May 20, 2013.


Where do you think the term "red cent" came from?

  1. The color of the cent

    10 vote(s)
  2. The Native American on the cent

    2 vote(s)

    JBZ RAID New Member

    I Googled this but didn't get a clear answer, I was thinking someone here may have some knowledge on this. I was wondering if the saying " I wouldn't give one red cent" was simply from the red color of the cent or if it could possibly be some kind slight to a Native American being on the cent back when the saying may have originated, just a thought. Does anyone have any idea about this? Thanks.
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  3. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

  4. scyther

    scyther New Member

  5. Nuglet

    Nuglet Active Member

    I can see what you mean, the term is used in a derogatory way, no-one says "I will give you this pretty red cent". But it may just be that way due to the cents low value and not the color but then why would the saying use the word red at all then?
  6. GreatWalrus


    Do they mean Office of Price Administration (OPA) red points? I happen to have a few of those.

    They also come in blue.
  7. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Copper has been referred to as "the red metal" since antiquity so I would expect that the copper cent has been referred to as a "red cent" since its inception.

    The answer from Wikianswers obviously refers to the OPA tokens and is completely wrong since as pointed out they come in both red and blue (and there is no experession about a blue cent), and the OPA tokens had no monetary value and were never accepted as a cent.
  8. largecent37

    largecent37 Coin Collector


    GUNTHER New Member


    GUNTHER New Member

    The Penny is a one cent piece. A red cent was actually 1 mil and made of hard compressed cardboard. 10 mils equaled 1 cent. Search 10 mils equalled 1 cent piece.
  11. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    If you are referring to the red OPA tokens, those were not mils, those were "points". Every rationed food item had a certain amount of "points" assigned to it in addition to its price. these points would be paid using ration stamps from the ration book issued to you. If you didn't have the proper stamps or enough points (typically each stamp was worth 10 points) you couldn't buy the item no matter how much money you had. If the required number of points was an odd amount you would get your "change" in the red and blue tokens, These tokens could be used to pay the point values for rationed food items as well. The red tokens were good for certain classes of items and the blue ones for a different class, They were NOT interchangable. Red points were good for fats and meat, Blue were for processed foods.
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