Is this Lodge’s coin still good?

Way back in the day, Albany – like most metropolitan cities and towns – had businesses that would offer their own coinage for purchasing that company’s wares.  There are several examples of “Civil War” coinage, in which someone could redeem a token to a merchant in exchange for flour or fruit.

I came across this token the other day, and of course I had to acquire it.  It’s probably the only one of these coins that is still associated with a current Capital District business.

That business – B. Lodge and Co.

Lodge's Variety Store, Albany NY - taken with Polaroid PolaBlue film
Lodge’s in Polaroid PolaBlue. Nikon F100 camera, Nikkor E-series 28mm f/2.8 lens, Polaroid PolaBlue instant slide film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Lodge’s has been in the Capital District for nearly 150 years, and you can still buy school uniforms for most of Albany’s private, parochial and charter schools in this location.  It’s a great little store, it’s fun to shop there, and the staff is very helpful and considerate.

I also have a very nice connection with Lodge’s; I took this picture four years ago with an experimental quick-developing slide film.  It was really the only photo that I was able to successfully develop with that slide film, and the photo took first place at the New York State Fair in 2011.

Now that being said…

A few days ago, I came across this token in an online auction.  It’s about the size of a dime, and possibly made out of tin.

Here’s the front of the token.

lodge 1

Wow.  Not bad, eh?  And if you flip the coin over…

lodge 2

A half-cent IOU coin?  Holy numismatology, Batman!

Seriously, though, this is kinda cool.  I can only imagine why Lodge’s would have created a half-cent coin.  Perhaps it was given in change as part of a trading program, similar to green stamps.  You buy $10 worth of goods, you got coins like this in your change.  Save enough of these, and you could maybe purchase a keychain or a pack of shoelaces.

I suppose I’ll never know.  But you know what?

The next time I shop at Lodge’s, I’ll give the cashier some loose change to “round out” my purchase… and I’ll leave this in the change and see what happens.

Heck, I might even get half a cent in change back.  What would half a cent look like?  A Lincoln penny broken in two?  Ha ha ha ha ha…