Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, December 18, 1994, pg. 2
We’ve all heard of giving someone our two cents worth. Well, how about our two and a half cents worth? Has inflation affected our speech? No, but in the first decade of this century, a local business firm issued tokens in the denominations of 2˝˘!
James T. “Deacon” McGuire (1863-1936), Albion’s celebrated major league baseball player, operated a saloon here in Albion with his brother George McGuire(1858-1943) from 1906 to 1912. The establishment was located at 204 S. Superior St. In 1912, they relocated to 103 W. Porter St. and operated a restaurant and cafe, in the era when Albion “went dry” in the move towards prohibition. In my book “History of Albion” there is a photograph of the McGuire’s restaurant on Porter Street. James would work in the off-season, while his brother George managed the firm year ‘round. Previously, the duo operated an ice business here in town in the days when ice was cut in the winter from the Kalamazoo River and at Duck Lake.
Some of our readers know this writer has an extensive collection of Albion merchants’ tokens, usually good for 5 or 10˘ in trade. I have enjoyed researching the history of each of these firms, and have had the collection on display at several locations over the past decade. I am always looking for new items to add to the display. If you have anything along this line, please let me know.
The McGuire Brothers issued several tokens during its duration. These are all aluminum in metal content, and good for 5˘ in trade. Recently however, I acquired an additional piece in the unusual denomination of 2˝˘ from the McGuire Brothers saloon. The token is previously unknown and unlisted in Michigan Trade Tokens by Cunningham. According to Paul Manderscheid, president of the Michigan Token and Medal Society, “tokens of the fractional 2˝˘ are quite scarce for Michigan. This particular piece came from a very old collection,” he stated.
This aluminum token is scalloped with 8 lobes, and 29 mm. in size. The obverse reads, “McGUIRE BROS. ALBION, MICH.” In the center is a pattern of three stars and two dots. The reverse states, “GOOD FOR 2˝˘ IN TRADE.”
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of this unusually-denominated token. What could you purchase for exactly two and a half cents? It took two of them to equal 5 cents, a whole amount. It is discoveries such as this token that make Albion history a fascinating topic.
2˝˘ Token, Obverse
More about the McGuire Brothers
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic