David Klinger submitted these notes and images about Electronic Benefit
Transfer (EBT) tokens. Thanks!
I recently came across a type of token I had never seen before. I saw them
at a local farmers market, and found out they were called EBT tokens.
They were in the form of "wooden nickels" which we all have seen, but were
only used to buy goods using the EBT or food stamp card.
At the farmers market, people could go to a central booth, and swipe their
EBT card in exchange for tokens in whatever amount the cardholder wanted.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows
state welfare departments to issue "food stamp" benefits via a
magnetically encoded payment card. They are used across all the United
States. More than 46 million Americans now have EBT cards, so the use of
these tokens must be large also.
Each state has a different card. Here is the one for California:
Other states use EBT tokens also. Some are made of colored plastic, and
some are a metallic colored material. There is even a paper scrip type. It
is impossible to say how many different types there may be, since it seems
that each market, or at least each city, uses a different type
I don't think that this will catch on as a major area of collector
interest for numismatists, but I found them interesting. I do know that
there are collectors of the original food stamps, (actually called food
coupons). Those were authorized in 1964, and were printed by the BEP, with
very nice vignettes. The EBT card was introduced in 2004.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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