Numismatic Coin Club World Internet Numismatic Society

By Edward Mahoney, WINS#879

When we think of the Swastika, what goes through our minds? Hitler, Nazi's the S.S., Gas chambers and many other vile things and happenings.

But, it wasn't always that way. The word swastika came from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote auspiciousness, or any piece of luck or well-being.

It is composed of su- meaning "good, well" and asti "to be". Suasti thus means "well-being." The suffix -ka, meaning "soul", suastika might thus be translated literally as "that which is associated with well-being," corresponding to "lucky charm" or "thing that is auspicious.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the swastika was used as a 'good luck' symbol. Many groups and businesses used this sign. The two that I am going to concentrate on are as follows:

The American Boy Scouts and the Worcester Salt Company.

Like many of you as soon as the word spreads that we are 'coin collectors' it is inevitable to be asked by a friend or a friend of a friend-I have this box of coins that a relative left to me. Would you mind looking at them to see if any of them have any value? As is usually the case in most of these numismatic sojourns of hope we have to tell the person that they do not have anything of value. The results fall into two categories-"Spend it" or the other, "Save these for your grandchildren". Since she was from Ireland and lived in Canada she had a mixture of Irish and Canadian coins.

The canadian coins were 'grandchildren' coins while the Irish did have some good value. I sorted them into two categories-common and silver. I then gave her the name of a collector/dealer that lives in Dublin. I knew that he would buy her common coins and give her fair value for them. I sorted and graded her silver Irish coins. I showed her how to calculate the silver value for when the price goes up. She was very happy with my 60 minutes of work. It was enjoyable and I was glad that she did not force me to tell her my main rule when I do this for friends. "I do not buy coins from friends. I will help you get the best value for them.

She was very happy with the end result. It was then that she asked me if I have ever seen the coin that she pulled out of her pocket. It was a Boy Scout Swastika coin. My answer back to her was that I had never seen one before. I then asked her if I could borrow it and do some research about this token. I told her that I would get it back to her brother in about 2 weeks. This should give me ample time to see if I could find it on the 'net. I did. I found links to the tokens and many other swastika tokens. Since I am from Boston, I have been collecting Massachusetts tokens. That is where I came upon Worcester Salt Tokens. I looked for one on Ebay and found a nice AU specimen. I was happy to have this coin as an example in my collection. It was about 2 days later that I saw another that looked different than mine. It was then that I found a link for these tokens. It turned out that there are 12 different tokens. So far, I have 7 of them and am looking for the other 5. I have seen some of them but the condition was so low grade that I could not buy them.

Next is the Boy Scouts.

I found one on Ebay and decided that I wanted it. It was in BU and I paid $50.00 for it.

While it was in transit to me I did more exploration about these tokens. It seems that there are over 35 different examples. I now have about 8. All are in Xf to AU.

The story goes like this. These were made for the Excelsior Shoe Company for boys in Portsmouth, Ohio. When a scout bought a new pair of shoes from Excelsior, he got this token with them. It was holed at the top center. These tokens were made of copper. When the scoutmaster could prove that everyone in his troop had bought shoes, he received the same token but in silver. I have not seen a scoutmaster token on Ebay as of yet. Most of the tokens are in a range of VG to almost VF+. The better grade tokens can demand much higher prices. is the link that will get you into all of the information that you will need. I do have to warn you-there is so much there that it can be overwhelming. It was to me.

I hope that you enjoy this bit about our hobby that was entirely new to me.

If you have any questions, my email is

Edward Mahoney
WINS 879

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