Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Outlaw Communion Token for the New Year

The title sounds bad: an outlaw communion token? But let us not jump to conclusions.
     Sometimes old tokens get a new lease on life. And since the band is warming up for a New Year Celebration (plus a big parade), this turns out to be a good thing!
     Yes, we all know how CTs got their start.
     They were revered and considered sacred by their association with the communion service. With the crush of life wearing us down, it was nice to know that the promise of salvation was at the other end. The tokens we collect are part of this history of human longing.
     So what do we make of the one shown here? It is an oval, dated 1849, from the parish of Abdie in Fife. Is it a profaned piece? An outlaw? No, of course not. Why? Because it is no longer a communion token. Once stamped, it becomes something else.
     So let us rejoice -- especially in this season of earthly reverie -- it is "good for one drink" in some unknown saloon. But where?
     The token was found in a junk box of numismatic miscellany at a coin show in Winchester, Virginia, by a close friend of mine. A few other "good for" impressions were stamped on those mass-marketed angel pocket pieces you see advertised on ebay by the lot.
     So how did a CT get mixed up with all these barroom pieces? Your guess is as good as mine.
     In the meantime, let's have a cold one (soft or otherwise) and celebrate 2014!
     Now, If only I could find that saloon.

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