Collect • Preserve • Interpret
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Wyoming State Museum
Barrett Building
2301 Central Avenue
Cheyenne, Wy 82002
(307) 777-7022

Cheyenne Resident Presents State Museum with Books Based on Trade Token Research

Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Contact: Jim Allison, Collections Section Supervisor, Wyomi

Terry Roker of Cheyenne recently presented the Wyoming State Museum with a two volume set of books that cover his research on trade tokens produced for city businesses over the past 140 years.

The books were printed free of charge by Office Depot for placement in the museum’s research library.

Trade tokens have been used for centuries by businesses whenever real coins were in short supply. They also forced a buyer to return to the token’s home business when given as change from a purchase.

In 2015, a coin dealer gave Roker a two-and-a-half cent token issued by a Cheyenne business called the Home Ranch. Researching the Home Ranch soon had Roker hooked on learning all he could about trade tokens.

“I searched everywhere trying to find a reference for a business called the Home Ranch. But while I was thinking it was a hotel, it ended up being a saloon that operated from 1903 to 1922,” Roker said. “I soon found myself researching other tokens and the locations of the businesses that gave them out. Now and again, I was even able to find photographs of the buildings where the businesses were once located. The stories attached to the tokens can be fantastic. They represent so much history.”

Roker was amazed to see just how many trade tokens had been issued in Cheyenne over the years.

The two volume set he donated to the museum lists more than 500 tokens from Cheyenne businesses and events, and he is alerted to more each month as more people learn of his project.

The museum’s artifacts manager, Jim Allison, is a great admirer of Roker’s work.

“The amount of work Terry has done with his research is remarkable,” Allison said. “The great thing about trade tokens is that they’re sometimes all that’s left of a business that operated for decades. The books Terry produced bring some of those businesses out of the shadows where they were in danger of being forgotten forever.”

Roker’s work on uncovering Cheyenne trade tokens is ongoing. He doesn’t collect many tokens himself. He searches primarily for images of tokens, as well as photographs and other information of the businesses that produced them.

If you know of a Cheyenne trade token that should be included in Terry’s research, contact Jim Allison at the Wyoming State Museum (307-777-5427 or jim.allison@wyo.gov).

Photo: Terry Roker, right, presents State Museum Artifacts Manager Jim Allison two books based on Cheyenne Trade Token research.