Company Scrip “money” from a West Virginia coal mine ~1950

A 50 "cent" scrip token produced by the Osborne Register Company (ORCO) in 1950.

In the 1800s, to mid 1900s, it was common for coal mining companies in West Virginia to pay their employees with fake money called ‘scrip’. This scrip could only be used at the company store to purchase luxury items, like food and clothing. This practice effectively forced employees to purchase all of their necessities from ths company store at grossly inflated prices.

This ensured that all the money paid out to those pesky workers ended up right back in the hands of the company. In some cases, scrip could be exchanged for cash, but almost always at a significantly reduced exchange rate.

via Flickr


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