George Washington Medal Owney tag
Owney received this advertising token from an unknown donor. The token celebrates President George Washington on one side, including an image and his birth and death dates, and aluminum, on the other. The U.S.’s first large aluminum refinery appeared in 1888, and the medal began to be used for tokens a few years later. The medal made its big splash with the American public at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. James Murdock, Jr. was already manufacturing tokens in brass, copper, and silver by the early 1890s and eagerly added aluminum to his business. This advertising token touts the metal on the back as “the new metal aluminum extracted from the common clay of the earth.” Murdock’s business was located in Cincinnati, Ohio.