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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 8, February 24, 2008, Article 43

STOLEN SENTIMENTAL COAL SCRIP TOKEN RETURNED TO ILLINOIS WOMAN

[A newspaper in Benton, IL published a story this week
about a woman who was reunited with a coal scrip token
that had been stolen along with her purse.  The article
refers to the token as "script" rather than scrip, but
correctly (and amazingly to me) uses the term "exonomia".
I'm not familiar with values of coal scrip tokens but know
many or not most are common.   Can anyone tell us if the
$5,000 value quoted in the article is on the money?
-Editor]

A Benton woman was reunited with her unique and cherished
keepsake Friday, thanks to the goodwill of a Rend Lake
College administrator.

According to 72-year-old Jean Bishop, her purse was
allegedly stolen from her shopping cart at the Benton-West
City Wal-Mart SuperCenter. It ended up on a Highway 37
shoulder about five miles south of RLC where it was
apparently thrown from a moving vehicle by the alleged
purse-snatcher.

When she went to the Ina campus Friday afternoon, she
explained that inside the purse was one of her most
prized possessions. Tucked in a velvet jewelry box was
a $5 piece of script, more than 100 years old, issued
by the Coal and Lumber Company of Stearns, Ky.

Scripts were used to pay coal miners. The coal employer
would issue scripts as wages to miners and they would
trade them for goods and services in a mining community.
This particular coin-like keepsake was given to her in
1972 by her late husband. She plans to pass it down to
her daughter, a mine inspector in Kentucky.

The script - once worth a mere $5 - is now much more
valuable, particularly to collectors of exonumia.

“I've already been offered $5,000,” Bishop explained.
“I cannot believe its still in there. They could have
taken anything else, I don't care.”

In the meantime, Bishop is going to work on a finding
a safer place for her sentimental script.

“It's going on a chain around my neck,” she said. “The
next person who wants to take my keepsake from me is
going to have to pry it from my dead body.”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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