Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tax Token

{I only have the one coin, this is photoshop trickery so's you can see both sides}
Mom handed me a little box this morning, “See what you can find out about these.” she said.  The box had all sorts of old coins in it, but this super-corroded one had a hole in it. A hole? That's weird.
Okay, I thought, I have photoshop, I'll run a CSI-Style ENHANCE! on it.
If I were a Tech on CSI I would say I ran a Differential-Bitmap-Algorithm, but what I really did was make a super-contrasty inverted black-and-white.
The corrosion didn't magically disappear and I have no idea what colour shoes the perp was wearing, but I did find out a bit more than I could have with just the naked eye.
12 stars per side
utah state
Hole in the Center
I spent about fifteen minutes with google, trying to find a utah commemorative penny but it was only after I had given up that a real clue appeared.
I took the thing outside to show to mom and she said “Hey! This is a bus token!”
 It wasn't, but a quick google for utah state token returned this ebay page: [LINK] which had a selection of much cleaner ones. Turns out, It's tax token. the gibberish I had thought was ‘JX1’ was ‘TAX’ upside-down, and ‘NO 1’ Was the last part of ‘COMMISSION’ There are really good pictures of a cleaned up one at that ebay link.
What's a tax token?  Tax is fraction of your purchase, so you if you buy a 10¢ thing, and tax is 3%, you have a problem because there's no way to collect three-tenths of a cent. Rounding up or down pretty much screws everybody, so they created these tax tokens which would stand in for that three tenths of a cent. Nowadays tax is way higher than 3% so nobody needs to really worry about percentages of pennies. [BETTER EXPLANATION]