Since completeness tends to increase a collection’s value, pick a specialty area within credit card collecting that offers a chance to assemble a large representative group.
3 tips on collecting charge coins and plates
- When collecting charge coins, stay away from rusted or damaged pieces. Inferior pieces attract little attention unless they are rare.
- Metal charge plates currently have little collector interest. They should remain affordable for years.
- The principal focus of collectors is on credit cards. When they can be located, scarce and rare cards can still be affordable. National credit cards are eagerly sought. American Express is the most popular.
Collecting laminated paper and plastic cards
Paper and laminated paper credit cards are highly desirable. When it comes to collecting these, don’t concern yourself with conditions. Go ahead and acquire any you find. They can be difficult to locate, so it could take years to find another specimen.
Plastic credit cards issued before 1970 are scarce. Most are used. Occasionally, a mint condition card will surface. Plastic cards issued after 1980 are collected primarily in mint condition.
Different types of charge coins and plates
Charge coins, the first credit pieces, were first issued in the 1890s. Charge coins are approximately the size of a quarter or half dollar. Because of their size, they were often carried with change. This is why they were commonly referred to as coins.
Charge coins come in various shapes, sizes and materials. Most are square, round or oval. Some are in the shapes of shirts, socks, or hats. They were made from various materials such as fiber, German silver, celluloid, steel, and copper. The issuing store has its name, monogram or initials on the coin. Each coin has a customer identification number. Charge coins were still in use as late as 1959.
Metal charge plates date from the 1930s to the 1950s. These plates look like military dog tags. The front of the plate contains the customer’s name, address, and account number. The back has a piece of cardboard that carries the store’s name and customer’s signature space.
Replacing paper credit cards with plastic
Paper credit cards were in use in the early 1930s. They were easily damaged, so companies began laminating them with clear plastic in the 1940s. Laminated cards were issued until the 1950s. Plastic cards replaced the laminated cards in the late 1950s.
Copyright 1989 by Greg Tunks