Numismatic Coin Club World Internet Numismatic Society

OPA Tokens
By Brandon Frei, WINS#868

OPA Token Lot

I was happy to hear that my grandfather (in-law), who is a fellow coin collector, wanted to send me some red OPA tokens. I will be honest that when I first heard about them, I didn't know much about them but knew they related to WWII. After conducting a bunch of research on the tokens, I thought it would be a good idea to share what I've learned about them.

First of all, OPA stands for Office of Price Administration, a department of the Office of Emergency Management. The purpose behind the OPA was to control prices for goods to make sure their cost and availability didn't get out of control. The administration also had the power to ration scarce items that were essential during the war. The OPA controlled everything from meats and sugars to gasoline and tires.

The main system they used to ration items were ration booklets with stamps. The stamps themselves had no value, but a family had to have a specific stamp to purchase a specific item. Families were issued ration booklets according to their household. For example, they were given different numbers of stamps based on numbers in the household, age of occupants, etc.

If the family purchasing an item with a stamp did not buy the entire amount the stamp allotted, they were issued OPA Tokens as "change" from the stamp. This system containing the OPA Tokens began in 1942 and ended 1945. OPA Tokens were made of vulcanized rubber and came in two colors. Red OPA Tokens were used for meats and fats and Blue OPA Tokens were used for processed foods.

OPA Token

The OPA Tokens were issued with a two-letter combination. Though the method of assigning letters is unclear, the Blue Tokens had 24 different letter combinations and the Red Tokens had 30. The rarest token is the Red MV. Other rare ones include the Red MM, YC, XC and Blue WW, WC, WH. OPA Tokens that were struck twice or off center are also more valuable.

OPA Token

Information contained on this page is posted for WINS Club Members use.
If you have any comments or problems with this or any other Club Site page,
please contact the: Operations Admin.

Copyright © 2000-2016 All Rights Reserved.        Legal Notices