Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Honey Beez and Taxes

We've finally completed the demo in our upstairs bedrooms. However, not without a few "incidents."

As I was doing some wall demo and knocking down the plaster, I could see something through the lath boards. I began to pull the lath boards off one by one to get a better view of what the thing was. As I pulled each lath board off, the thing would continue up under the next and I just kept pulling and pulling until I got to the top of the wall. It was a giant rotted BEE HIVE. Weird! Well, we thought that was that...until we started the demo above the window next to the bee hive. LAYERS OF HONEY COMB!

We were also once again amazed at the quality craftmanship of the previous home owners. This is apparently a wall...on top of a wall.

Also, Giles informed me that this is not the proper way to put together a ceiling.

But even better was the ceiling mold we found under that bang up ceiling job (we assume the mold is the reason for the ceiling work).

But we finally got all of the ceiling torn out.

Also, while Giles was patching up the floor (where we tore out the door to make the arch ways)Giles found something under one of the old floor boards.

This is a better photo of what we found. The one we found is a little more scuffed up. We couldn't quite make out what the token said other than "Oklahoma" on one side and "For Old Age Assitance" on the other side. So when I got to work, I googled the phrase "For Old Age Assitance" and there were several responses indicating it was an old Tax Token. Here's what I found out:
Merchants had to pay sales tax to the state on the total amount of sales made by the merchant during each day’s sales. You can imagine that if the sales tax rate is 3% and a child buys a 10c piece of candy there is no way to collect the three-tenths of one cent. If you rounded down that meant that the merchant could not collect anything for the tax. If you rounded up the state was gaining 7 tenths of a cent on every 10 cent sale. You can see that if the merchant sold 100 pieces of candy he was loosing 30 cents a day in tax revenues to the state, so the token was born. This allowed the merchant to take 11 cents for the first piece of candy and give change back in mills. The next time you wanted to buy a 10c candy you could present the merchant with the 10c and a token and complete the transaction. This allowed the merchant to collect the sales tax on each transaction.

A mill is 1/1000th of a dollar or a tenth of a cent. As you can imagine, people did not like having to carry a second set of coins, and to further complicate matters, different states issued different tax tokens. 1 and 5 mills are the most common denominations, but other denominations include: 1/5 cent, 1 1/2 mills, and "Tax on 10c or less."

There are over 500 different sales tax tokens that can be collected from 13 commonly issued states. I include Ohio stamps because most of the collectors do to. There is also anti-sales tax token memorabilia from many other states to collect. Most tokens are inexpensive and fairly easy to come by. All in all over a billion sales tax tokens are estimated to have been produced. Most coin dealers have no idea what to charge for these tokens, Many tax tokens are quite common, and can often be found in coin dealer "junk boxes" for as little as 10 cents. Others tokens are known to be much scarcer, however they too sometimes show up in “junk boxes” from time to time. A few, such as the New Mexico 5 mill black fiber are truly rare, and worth up to $100. There are also much sought after pattern tokens made by the manufacturers to win the contracts for minting from the states that issued them.

State issued sales tax tokens vary widely. Copper, brass, paper, cardboard, fiber, aluminum, zinc, plastic and even wood were used. Many were colored. The language ranged from Arizona's practical: "to make change for correct sales tax," to blunt in Louisiana: "Public Welfare Tax Token" and Oklahoma: "For Old Age Assistance." Perhaps my favorite is Missouri’s second generation Milk-Cap token. “… helping to pay for old age pensions, support of public schools, care of poor insane and tebercular patients in state hospitals and relief of needy unemployed in the state of Missouri.”

On the reverse side it says “Oklahoma Consumers Tax”

I think this is the one we have:

308.OK-5#7,S-5 Oklahoma Consumers Tax for Old Age Assistance.AL,RD,23mm,HAM. 1 mill,XF $2,UNC $8.00

(the AL stands for aluminum and the HAM “holed as made”)