Let me first mention there is a difference between a Fake Token and a Fantasy Token. With a Fake Token someone is trying to con you and steal your money by producing something designed to decieve you. With a Fantasy Token someone has invented a token as a novelty and for the fun of it. I should also mention that Con's will take an item like a Fantasy Token and also try to decieve you.
An example of a Fantasy Token would be those Brothel Tokens that read, "Food Whiskey Girls on one side and, "To screw I Need You" on the other. Typically they are the diameter of a Morgan Dollar and about half as thick. They are almost always a tarnished brass color.
You may be tricked into buying one of these for say $10.00 but once you receive it you won't be taken again. It's a small price to pay for such a good education.
With Fake Tokens we are not talking a few dollars we are talking from hundreds to thousands of dollars and you may not learn for some time that you were robbed. In this case it is best to go back and do some research before you buy. Then there is the fabricated saloon token that was made modern day for a Saloon that did exist but that never offered tokens. This is the con that is going to leave a mark and a big hole in your wallet. Again, before you make such a purchase it is best to do the research before you buy.
The following information is Copyright 1991 by Stephen P. Alpert and is reproduced here with permission. Other than printing one copy for your personal use, PLEASE DO NOT FURTHER REPRODUCE OR REDISTRIBUTE the following without the prior permission of Stephen P. Alpert, P. O. Box 335441,N. Las Vegas, NV. 89033.
From "Tokens and Medals: A Guide to the Identification and Values of United States Exonumia", First Edition, 1992. Chapter 67. FAKES, FANTASIES, AND RESTRIKES.
A. FANTASY BAWDY HOUSE - BROTHEL TOKENS
Most of these pieces are brass and about silver dollar size or a bit larger. Many are incuse; some are uniface. The most common reverses are "Good For All Night" and "All Night $3 Check". Just the name and location are given below; some occur in several varieties.
- Adobe Concert Hall, Goldfield, Nevada
- The Chicken Ranch, Texas
- The Chicken Ranch, LaGrange, Texas
- The China Doll, Dodge City
- Cuspidor Saloon, El Paso, Texas
- Diamond Lil, San Francisco
- Dixie Lee's, Cowtown
- Miss Eva's House, Central City, Colorado
- Laura Evens, Leadville, Colo.
- Gem Saloon, Tombstone, Arizona Terr.
- Hap's Bath House, Goldfield, Nev.
- Hap's Bath House, New York
- THe Hog Ranch, Fort Laramie, Wyoming
- Honest Walt's Saloon, Tombstone, Arizona Territory
- Hotel de Paris, Georgetown, Colo.
- Hungry Eye Saloon, Chicago
- Kitty Kat House, El Paso
- Kitty 's Kat House, Jackson, Cal.
- Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas
- Mahogany Hall, New Orleans
- Moon's Saloon, Sutter Creek
- Mustang Ranch, Sparks, Nevada
- The Octoroon, Madame Bolanger, Los Angeles
- The Old Log Inn, Dry Gulch, Calif.
- The Old Homestead, Cripple Creek, Colo.
- One Dead Buffalo, One Dead Indian, One Dollar, 1876
- The Palace Bar, Prescott, Az.
- Pat Ann's Saloon, New Orleans, La.
- Poke of Gold Saloon, Folson, Cal.
- Railhead Saloon, Tombstone, Arizona Territory
- Red Dog Saloon, Virginia City, Nev.
- RIley's Knotch Joint, Atlanta, Ga.
- Rosie's Palace, Madam Rose Bakkar
- Sally's House of Pleasure, Sutter Creek, Cal. (rectangular key tag)
- Shady Milt's SIlk Garter, Jackson
- Shanghai Reds Saloon, El Paso
- Ship Creek Saloon, Anchorage, Alaska
- Silk Garter, Reno, Nevada
- Silver Dollar Hotel, Denver, Colo.
- Singapore Sallie's, Chinatown
- Southern Belle Saloon, Mississippi Steam Boat
- Stella's Saloon, Atlanta, Ga.
- Swede's Saloon, Yuma, Arizona
- Swede's Saloon, Chicago, Ill.
- Uncel Sam Hotel, Yuma, Arizona Territory
- Velvet Garter Saloon, White City, N. M.
- Won Hung Loo's, Drytown, Cal.
B. "L. A. STAMP" OLD WEST FANTASY TOKENS
The Los Angeles Rubber Stamp Co. made many tokens and medals from the last 19th century to the mid 20th century. But they never used the signature "L. A. Stamp" which appears on these tokens, on the pieces they made. These uniface tokens are made of copper, brass, pewter, zinc, and white medal, and many are odd shaped and have cutouts. Not all the pieces below have the L.A. Stamp signature; those that don't are similar to identical in style to the others. (Similar fantasy tokens related to the Nazis and World War Two also exist.)
- Betty ... Coca-Cola, Atlanta, Ga.
- Butterfield Stage Line
- California Stage Line
- Coca-Cola, Army & Navy
- Drink Coca-Cola, San Francsico Trans Pan Exposition
- Fort Apache, Army Food Token, $2
- Fort Laramie Military Stores, 50¢
- Gem Saloon, EL Paso, $4
- Green River Whiskey, One Quart Free
- Holloway Stage Line
- Hollywood Whiskey
- Kate's Place, Prescott
- Ky Mort Co., $1
- Lakeside Club, Los Angeles P. D.
- Pioche Tradinc Post, Nevada, $10
- Stage Depot, Yuma, Adamsex
- St. Helier, Permitted To Grow ...
- St. Peters Port, Free Milk
- Teller City, Alaska
- Tombstone Ware Room, $5, 1872
- Herrmann Treber, Deadwood, S. Dak., $3
- Union Pacific Railroad (or U. P. R. R.) - various tokens
- U. S. Dept. of Indian Affairs - various tokens
- U. S. Pay Master, Ten Dollars
- Utah California Stagelines, One Well Drink
- Wells Fargo & Co., Mexico
- Wells Fargo And Co., $50 Travel Insurance
C. TRANSPORTATION TOKEN FANTASIES AND RESTRIKES
These are cataloged in the Atwood-Coffee catalog of transportation tokens, Volume One. The L. A. Stamp type pieces are listed above. Other fantasy transit tokens that could be mistaken for valuable old tokens are:
- Florence & Cripple Creek Rail Road, 1904
- Baker Street Ferry, 1860 (25mm restrike; originals are 24 and 29 mm)
- Fulton Ferry, Brooklyn to Manhattan
- A. C. Reed's Flying Circus, 1919
- Washington Hotel, Burlington, Wash.
- I. C. R. R. pass
D. KU KLUX KLAN FANTASIES
- Member KKK In Good Standing (tag)
- Centennial Convention 1965 Atalnta, Georgia (medal)
- Convention 1097 Briston, Tenn. (medal)
E. PENNSYLVANIA SALOON FANTASIES
These Good For 5¢ In Trade tokens are aluminum and are marked RS.
- Coal Miners Saloon, Dunmore, Pa.
- Lame Duck Saloon, Dunmore, Pa.
- Harry Jones's Saloo, Scranton, Pa.
- Moe Wolfs Saloon, Scranton, Pa.
- Old Stone Jug Saloon, Scranton, Pa.
- Valley House Saloon, Scranton, Pa.
F. OKLAHOMA TOKEN FANTASIES
- Ada Mercantine Co., Ada, I. T.
- J. H. Butler, Bengal, I. T.
- Lee & Reynolds, Camp Supply, Ind. Ter. (plain edge)
- Lee's Trading Post, Eagle Town, Indian Terr.
- Silas Bass, Keota, I. T.
- Hotel Lee, Okla City O.T.
- Payne Trading Post, Rock Falls, Indian Territory, 1889
(For other, incuse, fantasies, see the Oklahoma token catalog by Walker.)
G. FANTASY COAL CO. TOKENS
These are rare; apparently not many were made. (See the October 1983 issue of TAMS Journal.)
- The J. Daly Coal Co., Emlyn KY Mine (50)
- Douglam Coal Co., Worley, Ky. (50)
- Fire Creek Coal Co., Dow, I. T. 1.00)
- Hawk Mt. Coal, Cody, Ky, 1881, 1.00 Day Check
- Lambert Coal Co., Middlesborough Ky (50¢)
- C. M. Layne Coal Co., 1888 (1.00)
- Lowe Coal Co., Lot, Ky. (1.00)
- Primroy Coal Co., Morley, Tenn. (50)
- W. J. Tiller Coal CO., Trosper, Ky (50)
- Whitley Coal Co., Kinsler, Ky (10)
- Vitatoe Coal M. Co., Vito, Ky. (1.00)
- Wender Coal Co., Jellico, Ky (1)
- Whitel Coal Coke Works, Corbin, Ky. (1.00)
- Willow Coal Co., Jellico (1.00)
- Zimmer Coal Co., Howe, Ind. Ter (1.00)
Recently manufactured is: Marymore Mines, Inc., Excelsior, Ky, 20
H. TEXAS FANTASY TRADE TOKENS
- The Little Bar, Houston, Tex.
- Ed's Place, Humble, Texas
- Bevok Place, Lott, Texas
- Jim Watkin, Rosebud, Texas
- O. Altenhoff, Seguin, Texas
- Pete's Saloon, Waco, Tex.
I. "DRA" FANTASY TOKENS
These are marked DRA for Deep River Armory, a store in Houston, Texas that had these tokens made as novelty items.
- O K Corral, Tombstone, A. T., 10¢
- 2ND Regiment Colo. National Guard, Camp Goldfield, 1904
- Sutler's Store, Fort A. Lincoln, Dakota Terr.
- Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton, M. T., 1 Drink
- Deep River Armory, Houston, Texas, 17¢
- Lace Garter Saloon
J. OTHER FANTASY TOKENS AND MEDALS
- Empire Mine, Colorado, 1876 (various denominations)
- Nellie's Hide-Away, Carbon, Nevada, 87 1/2¢
- 1915 Coca Cola Bottler's Convention (resembles 1915 $50 gold coin)
- Becker Brewing And Malting Co., Ogden, Utah, Good For One Schooner
- Wells Fargo service medal from Jon, J. Valentine
- Elko Saloon, Gold Hill, Utah
- Alamo Saloon, Abilene, Kansas
- Murphy's Saloon, Victor, Colo.
- The Topic Saloon, Leadville, Colo.
- R. J. Gibson & Sons, Jonesville & Pennington, Va.
- Perry, Pippin & Co., Castlewood, Va.
- Transylvanian Mortuary, East Whasko, Illinois, $50
Other miscellaneous fantasy tokens exist, but are not likely to be mistaken as being valuable, so they are not listed here.
There are about 40 Nevada trade tokens that are believed by many collectors to be questionable, or fantasies, or fakes. Many are very deceptive and have the look of legitimate tokens. They are listed in the Nevada Trade Tokens books; some similar pieces exist from Calfifornia, and Utah (Elko Saloon, above.)
K. ANILLO RESTRIKES
These are uniface aluminum restrikes of tokens and medals, made by Anillo Industries of Orange, Calif. in 1968. Anillo Industries had bought out all the dies of the Los Angeles Stamp and Stationery Co. (formerly the Los Angeles Rubber Stamp Co.) and planned to go into the token and medal making business. So they took about 3,500 of the old dies and struck 25 sets of uniface tokens which they planned to mount in salesmen sample books. Only four books were made up. Thes sets ended up being sold to token collectors for about $150 per set. The dies used for the restrikes were mostly California trade tokens and medals. Most of the restrikes look just like the original tokens, but the Anillo restrikes can be easily identified by being aluminum and uniface. Some collectors are now paying $1.00 to several dollars each for most of these restrikes (especially those of rare tokens). But these restrikes are frequently offered for sale as original old tokens at high prices.
Although the information isn't exclusive of Saloon Tokens I did not want, or have permission to, publish it in part. Plus, I feel if I would have limited the information to just Saloon Tokens it would not have the impact I felt needed to make the point that people will try to take advantage of you, your passion and desire when it comes to collecting.
Lastly, I want to thank Stephen Alpert for granting me permission to reproduce this portion from his book.
Check out this youtube clip on the drop ring test to determine a real token from a fake token:
Drop Ring Test