KEEP ME AND NEVER GO BROKE. Who could resist a statement like that? This one-cent United States coin token was a clever way for the Larson Oil Company of Little Falls, Minnesota, to advertise its value and economy to customers and the community. The coin is dated 1946, one year after the end of World War II and not that far from the end of the Great Depression in 1939. The message is clear – frugal folk, we provide top value for the amount you spend.
The token consists of a one-cent United States coin encased in a 3/8” wide silver metal border with raised text and graphics. The text – KEEP ME AND NEVER GO BROKE – is prominent on the front side and is juxtaposed with the image of President Lincoln, one of the most trusted and venerable leaders of the United States. President Lincoln has graced the penny since 1909, the centennial of the year of his birth.
The coin token was donated by Jeff Garland of Dayton, Minnesota. His comment when donating the token to the Morrison County Historical Society (MCHS) is worth quoting:
My parents, Harold and Audrey Garland from St. James, MN had this coin in their collection. I had never heard them talk about Larson Oil Company, so I don’t know when they obtained it. I enjoy keeping history alive, and wanted to donate the coin for other generations to see and experience the past. Thank you! (Jeff Garland to MCHS, August 12, 2016 [Letter])
History is alive and kicking thanks to people like Jeff. Thanks to everyone who helps support cultural resources across the globe by saving, sharing and supporting cultural resource institutions and organizations. History does matter – past, present and future.
~ Ann Marie Johnson, MCHS Preservationist