Coins / Tokens
1930’s Slot Machine Tokens
5¢ Nickel Size
These tokens were used in the 1930’s slot machines during prohibition. The exact size and density of a nickel. They could be played in the machine and the machine would pay them out, intermixed with real nickels. This circumvented many local gaming laws because you were not necessarily playing for money. The location, such as a speakeasy, tavern or roadhouse would exchange the tokens for cash. One side of the token says, Good for Free Game. The other side says Property of Machine (an example of this coin is in an image here). That’s what made it legal. The location could argue that it was for entertainment or amusement only.
The use of gambling tokens was widespread, so each location would have a unique symbol in the center of their tokens on both sides to differentiate it from the other locations. These are all in excellent condition as I found them in an old oak barrel 30 years ago. They haven’t been used since the 1930’s.
They were in the attic of a warehouse used for pinball machine storage and other amusement and vending machines. It was in an old oak barrel that was 18” tall and 8” wide at the top. I paid $100 for it, and it was filled with over 15,000 tokens from the 1930's. There were 283 individually different tokens. Among the lot were approximately 7,000 of one type, that was from M.C. Amusement Co. Also found were several hundred that were from more recent times, 1950-1985. Of those there were small collections of groups such as Looney Tunes, Chucky Cheese, and others. Most of them were within a geographical area and collected by a local amusement machine operator. The ones from the furthest distance were from the Yellowstone Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming and another from Jack’s Billiard Parlor in Midland, S.D. The value of each token varies. What I discovered was that the M.C. Amusement Co. tokens were worth 15 cents.
Tokens are another collectable item used in pinball machines during the 1930’s.