Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

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Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

Post by roger »

YEA, we have all of them in the Wild U.S.A.... !!USA!!

All of which leads me into my questions about what you Brits call "Gold Changers". /\UK/\
In the U.S.A. our guys run off with ATM machines like they are stealing apples off a pushcart.
Can you imagine how long these cute gold machines would last on the counters of stores in America?
Were the "Gold Changers" bolted to the counters in England? It has been a long time since I viewed one, but I don't recall any security measures on these machines.
I have never seen an American version of this machine. Rarely, do we find a successful coin-op that has not been replicated by an American manufacturer. !:PIRATE:!
Also, how were the machines changed for the fluctuations in the price of gold??
Lastly, why are these desirable machines so cheap in the present coin-op market??? !PUZZLED!

Last edited by roger on Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

Post by treefrog »

When these gold changers operated, there was no gold price. The weight of the gold coin has a monetary value, e.g. a sovereign was a pound… As with silver, when gold was traded or valued above the face value, these vendors would have been redundant. In theory a sovereign is still a pound today and legal tender.
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Re: Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

Post by coppinpr »

Gold changers have always been a mystery to me. What was the point? What am I missing? When were these machines made? Did they take only Sovereign or did they take halfs, guineas and £5 pieces as well?
In practice, the sovereigns disappeared from use in 1914 (although it still had its face value, as it does today). None were made in the UK again until 1957, when it was re-struck as a bullion coin so it had no varying value until the 1960s.
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Re: Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

Post by badpenny »

My understanding of the whole kerfuffle is quite different.
They weren't there for the general public to use. They were installed behind the counter to protect everybody; when a customer wants to spend a sovereign or half sovereign on something worth a fraction of that amount. Rather like somebody today trying to buy a newspaper with a $100 bill.
In 1914 £1 was worth about £120. A lot of money to entrust to everyone getting it right.

Shop assistants were maybe not educated or too nervous to count out that much change correctly. Or maybe dishonest enough to skim off a bit for themselves. Also dishonest punters could make a nice profit by claiming to have been short changed or even taking the opportunity during the confusion and pressure to pass a counterfeit coin.
The solution chosen was The Gold Changer.
The customer wants to buy a card of Bobby Pins and proffers a sovereign.
In full sight of everyone shop assistant places the sovereign in the coin slot.
The mech checks its diameter/thickness and weight, then frees the drawer.
Assistant pulls drawer and removes the tray with £1 in small coins and spreads them in front of the customer who then uses a smaller coin.
The tray is then returned to the machine or stored next to it. Counting the number of empty trays shows how many are still in the machine and stops anyone trying to enter a coin when it's empty.

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Re: Bandits, Sheriffs, and Cigar Store Indians

Post by pennymachines »

The second link in the Arena is to: Cox Gold Changers and Tills, about the history and purpose of these devices. As BP suggests, they functioned as a change handling intermediary between customer and salesperson - i.e. a till.
Cox, whose legal name according to some of his patents was apparently Jehu Christopher Cox, invented devices to track “payments made over a public house bar, counter, or elsewhere.” These included a machine to change gold coins, and tills to register and store coins.
At least one of our forum members has a very fine collection of Gold Changers. I suspect they're not in such great demand because they fall somewhat outside the mainstream collector interest in coin-operated amusement, gaming, entertainment and public vending and service machines. Also, as this topic shows, their original function is not immediately obvious.

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