Author Topic: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'  (Read 164 times)

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Offline New to tokens

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UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« on: July 29, 2020, 02:59:29 PM »
Hello World of coins members, I was digging in my garden and found a cooperative token that says 'limited to ten stones' on one side, please can anyone tell me what this token was for? Thanks.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 04:12:08 PM »
Can you post a picture? UK co-op tokens are usually denominated in units of money, bread or milk. A weight of over 60 kg seems too high for retail trade.

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

Offline FosseWay

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Re: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 01:28:22 PM »
A weight of over 60 kg seems too high for retail trade.

Except for coal, where it is a perfectly reasonable quantity for domestic retail.

But I can find no evidence that coal was sold by the stone in the 20th century in the UK. When I was a kid it came in hundredweight bags (112 lb or 8 stone), which in the 1980s was metricated as 50 kg bags. To the extent that a smaller unit than that was needed, I suspect it was either the quarter (2 stone) or simply the pound (as used in the US - there is no commonly used unit between the pound and the ton there AFAIK).

There are two other issues with it being for coal or a similar bulky retail commodity sold by the Co-op. Firstly, 10 stone is a strange amount. As said, the standard unit for coal was 8 stone, or one-twentieth of a ton. 10 stone is not a useful fraction or multiple of anything. I suspect too that sacks of coal weighed around 50 kg in most places because that was the rough upper limit to what a fit labourer could heft around all day long. 10 stone would be pushing it, I'd have thought.

Secondly, a linguistic issue: IME the plural of "stone" when used as a quantity rather than the unit by itself is "stone". You say "I weigh 12 stone", not "I weigh 12 stones". On the other hand when talking about the unit, you do use the standard plural: "Please fill in your weight in stones and pounds". The same usage is often seen, though not grammatically required, in phrases like "That costs two pound fifty" or "I am six foot, two inches tall".

Offline New to tokens

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Re: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 04:44:49 PM »
Hi this is a picture of the front of the token, Altofts Cooperative society, limited to ten stones. I did some initial research but could only find Coop tokens for monetary values or for items like milk and bread.  I did also think maybe coal as it was found near to what would have been the coal store and could not think of anything else that would have been sold at that weight. I am intrigued and hence asking the question to people who know more about coop tokens. Thanks for your responses so far!

Offline FosseWay

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Re: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 04:52:28 PM »
That solves one mystery - the Limited is part of the name - Altofts Cooperative Society Limited.

That still leaves "10 stones" as the apparent denomination, which still seems odd for the reasons outlined above.

This token is listed in Douglas Rains' book Co-operative checks and tokens, but he doesn't offer any explanation for the value. Another odd denomination issued by Altofts is "Pint Vinegar".

Offline New to tokens

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Re: UK Cooperative token 'limited to ten stones'
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2020, 03:08:23 PM »
Thank you for the info Fosseway.