Good Luck Tokens


If you have a question, I am glad to help the best I can and I usually respond quickly.  My contact email is TheHiker@SageVenture.com.

Token Value

Many of the swastika tokens are very common and are not worth more than $20 to $30 in uncirculated condition; in used condition there worth is between $5 and $15.  Of course there are exceptions but for the most part, I recommend that you are careful with your bidding on places like eBay.  (The "Value" link-tab to the right is for "Good Value Club"; not for token value.)

Swastika

A great many good luck tokens were made from the 1910's through the 1930's.  Until World War II, the swastika was one of the significant symbols of good luck and was used on many tokens during this period.  Of course, the German use of the swastika changed that and it is no longer used as a positive symbol.

Within the swastika, there are four symbols.  The first three are easy; horseshoe, four leave clover and wishbone.  It is the fourth set of three symbols that exist on most of these tokens that seems to be unclear.  I've done a bit of research and I believe they are runic characters.  However, I was contacted by David Ruckser who believes through studies he has done that the symbols are Hieroglyphs.  So both points of view are presented below.

Runic Characters?

Runes are an alphabetic script used by the people of Northern Europe from the first century until well into the Middle Ages.  In addition to their use as a written alphabet, the runes also served as a system of symbols used for magic and divination." (The Runic Journey by Jennifer Smith, 2003).

Hence, like the other symbols of luck these runic symbols are of superstition (view).  The three runic symbols that I believe may be the symbols on the tokens stand for:  protection, mother goddess, and home and family unity.  If you have more information, please email me.

These three symbols are slightly different than today's standardization of them but I feel it is due to variation in character drawings in the same manner as we all write differently.  The two images to the right show some variation that exists on there tokens.

Or Egyptian Hieroglyphs?

David Ruckser says that in order to be runic, the characters should be in the correct direction.  He feels that this is very important.  My argument is that people from the twentieth century put this design on the tokens and probably had no sense of direction.  An example of the wrong direct is the runic letter "Thorn" which should face like a "D".  A reference to basic hieroglyph letters can be found at www.greatscott.com/hiero/.  You will notice that the hieroglyph letter T, , faces up.

What is important is that there are other points of view.  Until someone can find the original reference to the symbols, it is important to keep an open mind.

After a great deal more research, I don't believe it is either Runic or Egyptian.  The D-like symbol can be found but I did not find either of the other two symbols.  Finding the original reference is likely the key.

Token Classification

As an attempt to classify the tokens and make it easier for viewing, I have categorized the tokens into five groups.  My groups are:

  1. Scout / Excelsior tokens - These are tokens issued by the Excelsior Shoe Co. that refer to "Shoe for Boys" or "Boy Scouts" and has a rider on the obverse
  2. Worcester Salt
  3. Those not in the above categories that say on the reverse, "Membership Emblem of the Don't Worry Club."
  4. Those not in the first two categories that say on the reverse, "Membership in the Good Value Club."
  5. All Other

An interesting variation of the swastika is that some are right facing, some left facing.  It seems that the variation is primarily attributed to symmetry of design when both are used.  Within the swastika arms are also good luck symbols.  For the right facing swastika, the common pattern is:

  1. A horseshoe in quadrant 1;
  2. A four leaf clover in quadrant 2;
  3. A wishbone in quadrant 3; and
  4. Three runic symbols in quadrant 4.

The following patterns have been identified:


Common reverse
Type L1


Rabbit's foot in quadrant 4
Type L2


Common reverse
Type R1


D symbol in quadrant 4
is flipped.
Type R2


Symbols in quadrant 2 and 4
are exchanged.
Type R3


Symbols in each quadrant
are upside down.
Type R4


Symbols in quadrant 1 and 3
are exchanged, and symbols in
quadrant 2 and 4 are exchanged.
Type R5


Symbols in quadrant 1 and 3
are exchanged, and symbols in
quadrant 2 and 4 are exchanged.
And symbols are upside down.
Type R6


Similar to the common reverse
except a "7" in is quadrant 4.
Type R7


Symbols in quadrant 1 and 2
are exchanged, and symbol in
quadrant 4 is a Master-like figure
Type R8


Similar to type R4
except "Good Luck" in is quadrant 4.
Type R9


Most tokens are about 32-33 mm but some are in the 25-26 mm range.  The smaller ones are shown as smaller.  The tokens have also been made with various medals; bronze, brass, aluminum, steel, etc.  However, I have not focused on the metal types and for the most part will not include that information.

If you have a token that is not listed as would like to share it, I'd appreciate a nice scan and I will gladly let others know it came from you.  To do so, just email it to Craig Murray at TheHiker@SageVenture.com.  Thank you.

Swastika References: