Some people call them “charge coins”. Some say “charge tokens”. What should you call the first known credit pieces?
The proper name is charge coin.
Cause of confusion
The confusion about charge coins vs. charge tokens originally comes from numismatic definitions.
Numismatists have precise definitions to distinguish coins from tokens. According to the technical definition, these credit pieces should be called “charge tokens”.
Unfortunately, the people who lived during the era that used these pieces were not technicians. They called them “charge coins”.
It must be remembered that the term “charge coin” is not a slang expression. It’s a proper name that people used when charge tokens were in use.
In the 1938 book by Clyde William Phelps entitled “Retail Credit Fundamentals”, with the sub-title “Official Textbook of the National Retail Credit Association”, the advantages, disadvantages, and efficiencies of the “coin system” of charges is analysed in depth.
The proper name of these credit pieces, as used by the National Retail Credit Association, is charge coin.
Copyright 1988 by Greg Tunks