Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections in the MDAH Museum Division, brings us this post about interesting artifacts in the collection.

Sales tax tokens. Accession Numbers: 1966.13.2, 1966.13.3, 1966.13.8, 1966.13.9 (Museum Division Collection)

Sales tax tokens. Accession Numbers: 1966.13.2, 1966.13.3, 1966.13.8, 1966.13.9 (Museum Division Collection)

In order to ease Mississippi’s $13 million deficit, Governor Martin Connor (1891-1950) proposed and the legislature passed the state’s first sales tax in 1932. Beginning in 1936, merchants used tax tokens to make change for the newly levied sales tax.  The first ones were one-mill and five-mill tokens made of aluminum and brass. However, due to the shortage of metal during World War II, the material used to make the tokens was changed from metal to fiber and then later to plastic.  The state abolished the use of tax tokens in 1952. Pictured above are examples of tax tokens made from 1936 to 1952.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

MDAH, “May 1, 1932: State sales tax of 2% goes into effect on retail goods,” Mississippi History Timeline, http://mdah.state.ms.us/timeline/zone/1932/.

V.B. Wheeless, The Sales Tax Token in Mississippi, Mississippi State Tax Commission.