It is quite possible that local history buff Leonard Gresens, owner of North Louisiana Tokens and Collectibles, has the best collection of early local private coinage than anyone else in the area. An avid collector, over the years he has uncovered some rare and unique pieces that tell remarkable tales and those tales will be told on Wednesday, Sept 18 at 6 pm at the Spring Street Museum, 525 Spring St. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be ordered here. We are all familiar with dollars, money backed by the full faith of the Federal government, but what exactly is ‘private’ coinage? As it sounds, it is currency created by a person or business. Though the printing of private money is not encouraged by the U.S. government, it is not forbidden in the U.S. Constitution and there is a long local history of such coins. Take for example, the Meridian Fertilizer Coin.
The plant was in Bossier, before there was much residential there so most of the workforce lived in Shreveport. To get to Bossier, workers had to cross the then- Traffic Street Toll Bridge. Since plant workers were only paid $2 a day, paying a daily toll to travel was simply out of the question. Here’s the ad they ran in The Times (and we still have a question about being ‘allowed to operate on Mondays’. What gives with that?)
Gresen’s talk will feature mainly tokens from 1930 to 1960, and will highlight transit, military, plantations, tax tokens, and, according to Gresens, ‘a few surprises’. Hope to see you there!