THE WONDERS OF THE INTERNET….I

THE WONDERS OF THE INTERNET….I was rummaging around some old boxes the other day and found a bunch of the old aluminum thingies (that’s a technical term) shown at right. They are inscribed “Utah Sales Tax Token” and, judging from the age of the other stuff in the box, they date from around the 1930s or so.

In days past I would have idly wondered what these were and never worked up the energy to find out, but today all I have to do is Google on “Utah Sales Tax Token” and I instantly come up with this, which tells me that these are indeed tokens for paying sales tax. Starting in 1933 the sales tax rate in Utah was 2% and each token was worth one mill, or a tenth of a cent. Thus, a one mill token was the exact sales tax on a purchase of a nickel. Aluminum was in short supply during World War II, so they were replaced by plastic tokens, and then finally discarded in 1951.

Isn’t the internet remarkable?

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation