A Depression-Era Merry Christmas from the Walsh Family!

I meant to bring this token to work this morning, but I forgot to tuck it in my pocket on the way out the door. But, it’s Christmas time, so home I went to get it on my lunch hour! This brass holiday token measures 29 mm. It reads THE / WALSH / DOLLAR on three lines with 1933-1934 curving below, all within a beaded border. The reverse reads MERRY CHRISTMAS LIB GREG JUDY also in a beaded border. Who Lib, Greg, and Judy Walsh were is a mystery to me, but I have a feeling they were a little better off than the average working – or shall I say non-working – Joe at the height of the Great Depression in 1933-1934. Just to be able to afford these custom-made tokens surely cost a few dollars at a time when a few dollars meant the difference between full and empty bellies for many families. Did the Walsh clan own a store and was this redeemable at their location? Did they hand them out at Christmas along with a greenback dollar bill? Was it a family tradition? To me, a great piece of exonumia will ask you questions, though perhaps it will never yield any answers. I’ve had the “Walsh Family Dollar” in my collection for decades, and every now and then I trot it out at Christmas time and ponder its origin. It’s a great piece of exonumia and a puzzle that may never be solved. Anyway, from the Walsh family of long ago and all of us in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries family, have a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!

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