BEHIND THE SCENES
Trade Tokens: All New, and Vintage Too
We’re often asked how we came up with the idea for this or that, and while the answer is different every time, historical objects generally play a leading role in our creative process. Case in point: our newly revamped line of Trade Tokens are only the latest incarnation of a story that goes back thousands of years.
As Old as Barter
Before Bitcoin, before anyone had heard of the debt-ceiling, before the gold standard, before paper money, and even before ships sailed full of doubloons and pieces of eight, there was barter. And primitive tokens, whether made of metal, wood, clay, or seashells, were often used to keep track of accounts.
We love that our modern update of this ancient system encourages the kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness that used to (and still can) form the core of a healthy family or community. Where modern forms of official currency fail us, a simple IOU given in good faith can initiate a series of selfless acts and a cycle of shared experience and appreciation.
Some of Our Favorite Vintage IOUs
Our modern Trade Tokens also connect us to small slivers of the past in unexpected ways. Check out these vintage IOUs covering everything from ice cream to fur pelts:
Remarkably, there’s an entire field of study (called exonumia) and a quirky cadre of collectors devoted to hunting down vintage tokens of all shapes, sizes, and origin. Want to try your hand? Here are a sampling of live eBay auctions to get you started…
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