Apr 162015

Trade TokenAnother of my great-granduncles, Louis William Yuncker (1877-1963), was my paternal great-grandmother’s younger brother.  He is mentioned in his mother’s 1921 obituary as living in Saginaw, Michigan.  A quick search online revealed unique items with a connection to the past.

Two trade tokens bear the name L. W. Yuncker’s.1  It turns out Louis William Yuncker owned a meat market in Saginaw.  He undoubtedly used these very same tokens in the family business.

Trade Tokens

Trade Tokens: L. W. Yuncker’s

According to TokenCatalog.com, these trade tokens were manufactured by Ingle and are listed in the Ingle customer ledger as order number 191, which was shipped to Saginaw, Michigan about 1910.  Both are brass.  The “1” denomination is 18mm in diameter while the “5” denomination is 20mm.

On his marriage license Louis Yuncker listed his occupation as a meat cutter.  He married Nellie M. DeLude April 16, 1901 in Saginaw, Michigan.2  By 1907 Louis had opened his own store, L. W. Yuncker’s.3  In 1915 the store was at 656 Sheridan Avenue.4  By 1921 it had moved to 1239 S. Warren Avenue.5  And by 1942 it was at 1200 State Street.6  I’ve yet to find any later references to the store and when it may have closed.

How these trade tokens were used is unknown. The denominations 1 and 5 could mean $1 and $5, but $5 in 1910 would be relatively valuable. They could mean 1 cent and 5 cents, but other tokens from that time often display a cent-sign and 1 cent in merchandise would be a small value. (A pound of bacon sold for 25 cents in 1910.) They might indicate 1 and 5 points used in a store credit scheme, or perhaps a contest or sales promotion. They also could have been used either with customers or with suppliers.

These relatively obscure items make a tangible connection to the past.  In this case they are the only items that remain of a once thriving family business.  At least, that’s what I’ve discovered so far….

  1. Richard Greever, Token Catalog (http://tokencatalog.com/index.php : downloaded 19 March 2015), L. W. Yuncker’s trade tokens, TokenCatalog #10252 and #312386.
  2. “Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch ((https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N38X-315: downloaded 19 March 2015), Lewis W. Yuncker and Nellie M. Delude, 16 Apr 1901; Saginaw, Saginaw, Michigan, Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Volume 4, Page 104, Record 10128, FHL microfilm 2,342,519.
  3. Michigan Department of Labor, Thirty-third Annual Report of the Department of Labor (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop, Hallenbeck, Crawford Company, State Printers, 1916), Page 272; digital images, Google, Incorporated, Google Books (http://books.google.com/ : downloaded 21 March 2015; Yuncker, L. W., Saginaw, Meat, Established 1907.
  4. R. L. Polk and Company, 1915 Saginaw Directory, Volume 32 (Saginaw, Michigan: R. L. Polk and Company, 1915), Pages 1056 and 1182-1183; digital images, Internet Archive, Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/ : downloaded 31 March 2015; Yuncker, Louis W.
  5. R. L. Polk and Company, Saginaw Directory 1921, Volume 36 (Saginaw, Michigan: R. L. Polk and Company, 1921), Pages 769 and 826; digital images, Internet Archive, Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/ : downloaded 31 March 2015; Yuncker, Louis W., Yuncker, Lowell E., Yuncker, Vada C.
  6. “United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ : downloaded 19 March 2015), Lewis William Yuncker, 1942; citing NAID identifier 623283, NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,709,444.

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