Author Topic: London dividend check, ca. 1960 (Williams Brothers)  (Read 15780 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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London dividend check, ca. 1960 (Williams Brothers)
« on: April 03, 2011, 01:28:34 AM »
There seem to be quite a few for sale, but also lots of speculation about the issuer. I found them:

Williams Brothers direct supply stores was a grocery at 328 Hackney Road, London E2 in 1921. The nearby Nags Head at 324 was already there in 1921 and still has the same name.

This is a series of dividend tickets. They would be given as proof of purchase, to be exchanged once a year for a bonus depending on profit and the value of the tokens. I got a threepence, sixpence, shilling and florin in aluminium, bracteate strike (reverse is an incuse mirror image of the obverse). I also got a brass crown (both sides are the same) and I know of the existence of a half pound (10 s.) and a pound (20 s.).

Peter
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 11:43:28 AM by malj1 »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bagerap

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 01:33:31 AM »
Not just Hackney Road Peter, Williams Bros were ubiquitous.
My latter childhood was spent around West London, and the tin token was no stranger to our household. But for the life of me I can't remember exactly what the shops looked like.
Bob

Offline Figleaf

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 01:46:09 AM »
Thanks, Bob. Unless you are over 100 years old, that means the tokens are much more modern. Can you remember if Williams brothers was a co-op? That would explain the dividend tickets...

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bagerap

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 04:49:38 PM »
I've consulted my sister, who being even older than I,must be wiser.
As far as we can remember the tokens were not exchangeable at face value, rather they were "Proof of Purchase"; indicating what you had spent rather like a till receipt. We think that they were redeemable on certain dates for a percentage of total token value.
But then again, what do we know? Centenarians have notoriously poor memories.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 05:23:13 PM »
That makes sense, Bob. Thanks very much.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 07:20:49 PM »
Yes, the 10s and £1 values undoubtedly exist, as I have them. Unfortunately I don't have a functional scanner, so can't post a picture.  >:(

translateltd

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 09:54:00 PM »
I've consulted my sister, who being even older than I,must be wiser.
As far as we can remember the tokens were not exchangeable at face value, rather they were "Proof of Purchase"; indicating what you had spent rather like a till receipt. We think that they were redeemable on certain dates for a percentage of total token value.
But then again, what do we know? Centenarians have notoriously poor memories.

Congratulations on the latter, if so!

That matches the explanation I've heard for NZ's "discount tokens" - they represented a total that could then be used to claim a discount/rebate (some say "dividend", which I interpret as something different again) at a later date.


Offline Figleaf

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1920
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2011, 11:56:14 PM »
I am amused, Martin. The reason I asked if Williams brothers was a co-op is that such tokens are typical for co-ops. Since they were non-profit, they wanted a way to share their profits among their customers. The tokens provided a method: customers were sharing the profit as a ratio of their purchases, proven by the tokens.

However, I strongly suspect Williams brothers was not a co-op. It did share part of the profit, but as a sales gimmick, much like pasting loyalty stamps in a booklet today. Your remark that in New Zealand they were known as discount tokens hits the mark: non co-op shops were defending themselves against co-ops by a similar scheme.

While there were most probably commercial reasons for the loyalty/discount schemes, I think there was also a political motif: co-ops were a socialist invention. They had beaten the church at the game of poverty alleviation. The conservatives must have been aghast and they must have welcomed shops offering similar schemes. I presume New Zealand was at the minimum as conservative as Britain.

Another remarkable element is the term "direct supply shop". My guess is that this is a claim that the grocery bought directly from the supplier, cutting out the profit of the middle men, therefore an indirect claim that Williams Brothers was cheaper than its competitors. Today, the trend of disintermediation is continuing even faster because of the internet.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 12:07:58 AM »
Only slight problem as far as the NZ "discount tokens" go - check the legends:


Offline Figleaf

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 01:45:21 AM »
No problem at all, except that in this case, discount token isn't as precise as could be. Yes, it gives you a discount, but it's more like profit sharing. The difference can be very small from the consumer's point of view, but it is large from the issuer's point of view. The co-op distributes all its profits, for legal reasons, but also for reasons of political dogma. The non-co-op distributes part of its profits strictly for commercial reasons.

BTW, I find your token fascinating. I have seen very few English language, non-UK co-op tokens. There is a little doubt lingering, though. I wonder if the agri co-op hasn't become a sort of exception to the rule of co-ops being socialist. How is it in New Zealand?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 02:15:50 AM »

BTW, I find your token fascinating. I have seen very few English language, non-UK co-op tokens. There is a little doubt lingering, though. I wonder if the agri co-op hasn't become a sort of exception to the rule of co-ops being socialist. How is it in New Zealand?


Simple answer is, I don't know.  I'm still trying after 30 or so years to fully understand how the various Farmers' co-operatives functioned here in NZ.  They're long gone - the tokens are assumed to date from just before 1900 to about 1904.  I note they are very similar in style to tokens produced for various co-ops in the UK (identical design both sides, denomination in the middle, Co-op name round the outside), and they may well have been made in Britain.  Denominations here range from one to 40 shillings.  I have one excessively rare cardboard 10/- token that pre-dated the brass ones (early 1890s according to one researcher):

http://www.translatelimited.com/Man_Farmers_Card_NZNJ_073%281995%29.pdf


Offline FosseWay

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 09:33:06 AM »
So essentially these tokens are the forerunner of the Tesco Clubcard...

Offline malj1

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 12:18:23 AM »
I was surprised to see the mention of aluminium, I have several of these but I have only seen them in 'Tinned Iron'. They are very common here in Australia, [I have several of the 5/- and 10/-],
my small offering is below.

BTW the oval 20/- has BONUS CHECK on the reverse; the 5 10 and 20 shillings are the same both sides.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 02:38:55 AM by malj1 »
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 01:05:45 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Malcolm. I hope you'll have a great time here.

Thanks for showing your tokens. I haven't seen the penny before, but it is of course a logical value. The sixpence looks similar. Maybe it's just the light, but the 6 and the D seem to be slightly different ("ball" on the riser of the 6, lower bar of the D and dots below D shifted slightly to the left in relation to the D). I found no differences in the shilling, the florin and the crown, except that I am not sure of the metal of your florin. The oval pound is a big surprise. Haven't seen it offered on the net. I suppose the tokens are easy to fake, but you'd want to fake the highest value most, so maybe it was a safety measure.

Aluminium or tinned iron? I am happy to go for tinned iron. I have several French tokens of the period 1916-1918 struck in the same way, but not tinned. Generally, they have less sharp letters and they are blacker. If the reddish part of your florin is rust, that would also plead for iron.

There is no doubt in my mind that the tokens are British, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be Australian also. It would help if you could find someone who remembers the stores or an address of one of the shops.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline UK Decimal +

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Re: London dividend check, ca. 1960
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 01:15:59 AM »

Here's a shop that you may find interesting!

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

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