15|2013 A Token (May 2, 2013)
What an interesting day May 2 was! I received 2 sets of family history items both from my father’s side of the family. One set included some letters and photos from my grandfather’s uncle’s family the other set was from my father that included letters, photos, memorabilia and more. It was like Christmas to me.
Among those items that belonged to my grandparents, I did snap a picture I’ll show you today. On one side it says “5 For Old Age Assistance 5” and the other side says “Sales Tax Token Oklahoma”. It feels like it’s made of thin but sturdy cardboard type paper.
In looking up information, I discovered two sites that provided helpful information.
1) What are Sales Tax Tokens? said “Merchants had to pay sales tax to the state on the total amount of sales made by the merchant during each day’s sales. You can imagine that if the sales tax rate is 3% and a child buys a 10c piece of candy there is no way to collect the three-tenths of one cent. If you rounded down that meant that the merchant could not collect anything for the tax. If you rounded up the state was gaining 7 tenths of a cent on every 10 cent sale. You can see that if the merchant sold 100 pieces of candy he was loosing 30 cents a day in tax revenues to the state, so the token was born. This allowed the merchant to take 11 cents for the first piece of candy and give change back in mills. The next time you wanted to buy a 10c candy you could present the merchant with the 10c and a token and complete the transaction. This allowed the merchant to collect the sales tax on each transaction.A mill is 1/1000th of a dollar or a tenth of a cent. As you can imagine, people did not like having to carry a second set of coins, and to further complicate matters, different states issued different tax tokens. 1 and 5 mills are the most common denominations, but other denominations include: 1/5 cent, 1 1/2 mills, and “Tax on 10c or less.”
2) 4.29.09 Tax Tokens (Mills) said “…a tax token (mill) was in 1936 when Oklahoma enacted such a law. One mill was made of aluminum and about the size of a quarter with a hole in the center. The first ones were inscribed “Consumers Tax Check Oklahoma” on both sides. A five mill token made of brass was also issued. For every 10¢ purchase, one mill token was also collected. A 20¢ purchase took two mills on up to one penny or 10 mills was required for a dollar purchase. A short time later the inscription on one side of the mill was changed to “For Old Age Assistance” and the word “Check” on the other side was changed to “Token”.
In 1942, the mill was produced from molded white fiber and the 5 mill in grey fiber without a hole. Later, the 5 mill was provided in an orange to red to brown fiber. In 1942, to support the war effort, light grey and red-brown cardboard was used to produce the tokens. The tax was finally ended in 1952.”