Twerton Co-Op Soct. Ltd., Small Loaf (Brass)

The co-operative movement, which expanded rapidly after originating in Rochdale in 1844, was based on the concept that its profits were returned to the members in the form of a dividend, calculated as a proportion of each pound spent. The dividend could not be declared until accounts were made up, and it was not easy to keep track of every member’s spending in the meantime. A solution was to give an equivalent face value in tokens with every purchase. When the dividend was declared, all tokens brought in were exchanged at the dividend rate. The redeemed tokens could then be issued again. Many tokens were issued with the value expressed in terms of the goods themselves, such as bread or 1/4 lb. of tea rather than a monetary value.
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