Coal Mine Scrip
Scrip, as used in coal mining, was essentially a credit system. When an employee needed a pay advance to hold him over until the next payday he was given an advance in company scrip which was good only at the company store. This advance was charged against his payroll account and was deducted from the amount due at the next payday. In order to obtain cash some miners sold their scrip at a discount. Since payday was generally once every two weeks or once a month it was necessary for most miners to use this credit system, which had the advantage for the company of making captive customers of its employees since the scrip was only good at the company store where many companies inflated prices so that they made a healthy profit from the coal they sold and from the goods their employees bought at the company store. Coal scrip was generally in the form of metal tokens, paper punch cards and ticket books. Scrip tokens began to be used in the U.S. in the late 1870s and continued in use into the early 1950s.
Two scrip tokens are owned. One is from the Junior Mercantile Company in Omar, WV, where my great aunt worked when she was young. The second is from the Island Creek Stores Company in Holden, WV. My great grandfather was a mine foreman for Island Creek Coal Company.