Interesting EXONUMIA Words: "Token" and "Jeton"

AAA Historical Americana
World Exonumia.
BACK to Main LINKS page. BACK to Articles page.

THE WORDS "TOKEN" AND "JETON" by Jørgen Sømod of Denmark.

Formerly a token in Danish was called TEGN, in medieval language Thegen and in German Zeichen. It seems to be the same word as token. On older Flemish tokens are used the words Teeken, Teeckn and Teecken. In Denmark the word disappeared 100 years ago. After then were used many words including Værdi-Mærke, translated from the German Werth-Marke. The word pollett is known in Sweden since 1623, where it was spelled bollet and it is told the word comes from the French poulet, which means little letter. The word polet with different spelling for each country is now accepted in Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish. It is not known, why in Costa Rica they are using the word boleto. In Estonia they use the word koduraha, which can be translated as home money.

Jeton is used in Denmark only for small medals, casino chips and counters for card play in private homes. Jeton as token is known in Turkey. Italy uses the name gettone, also in Russia, Serbia and Poland. The French word méreau, used since 12th century seems not used in other languages and it means from church Latin merallus. In Latin is normally used tessera, which may be taken from Greek. The German Marke (Wert-Marke etc.) is seen in Russian Marka and in Polish Marka Kredytowa. In Norway betalingsmærke or betalingsmerke, of which betaling means payment.

In The Netherlands are seen betaalpenning and waardegeld; and in Iceland vörupening. Further in Poland, Monety Zastêpcze, which means emergency money. In Czechs is used známka and in Hungarian barcza, which in a Hungarian-English dictionary is translated into brass-ticket In Spain, Portugal and South America is used fichas. In Venezuela or Columbia is seen SEÑA, which may be the same word as English sign. It sounds nearly as the German Zeichen, why the English words token and sign may have the same origin. In Greenland there is not a special word for token. They are using the word for coin, aningâq. When coins first arrived, the Eskimos did not know what to call them. But the coins looked like the moon and therefore moon and coin is the same word in Greenlandic.

Jørgen Sømod can be reached at LINK or via email at

From the October 6, 2002 issue of The E-Sylum, an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Peridromophily: Street car transfer collecting LINK

Other words: Numismatography, numismatology, numismate, numismatiste, enningen, draagmedailles.

Mexican term for token: tlacos.

Cotton Mill term for tokens: Looney, Looneys

Bonistics: the study of paper money

Lignadenarics: the collecting of wooden money (from "Lignus", wood, and "Denarious", money"
Lignadenarst: a collector of wooden money

Sede Vacante medals ("vacant seat") those are the Vatican medals issued between each pope, when there is no pope.

In Uruguay they use the name of tokens: "fichas". Also Mines or mining tokens (Canteras in Spanish)

If you know of additional articles, please send me an
e-mail at


  Join our exonumia e-Mail list today!  

Rich Hartzog
AAA Historical Americana -- World Exonumia
Buying, Selling, Auctions Since 1972
POB 4143CNT - Rockford IL 61110-0643


© All web pages AND all images: Copyright Rich Hartzog World Exonumia ® 1997-2016

Links --- For Sale
Fakes --- Slave
Franklin Mint
I Collect