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What is this thing? Why was it made?
February 2, 2014 8:50 AM   Subscribe

My dad recently showed me a little knick-knack he inherited a while back. I'm not sure if it was from his dad or his maternal uncle, but they were around the same age (born in the nineteen teens/twenties). It's a Liberty Head dollar coin and two dice in an acrylic casing. What is it?

Obviously, it could simply be some paperweight that someone thought would be interesting. But why dice and a coin? The dice are in a chamber large enough to move more or less freely, but you can't flip the coin or anything. Is this symbolic of anything other than someone with an ability to make acrylic cases, an assortment of random objects, and an excess of free time?

Pics here.
posted by solotoro to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
 
Similar thing on Etsy. I'm guessing these were commercially made at some point; including the coin is a variation.
posted by beagle at 8:58 AM on February 2


I'm assuming it's a luck token or souvenir of a place where there's gambling. Where did they vacation?
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:01 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Giving the cube a good shake and flipping it over gives you 2d6 (from an age when no one would have ever said 2d6 because pretty much everything was 2d6). So it's a pair of dice you can roll, but which you'd have to be working overtime to loose one down the furnace vent or some such.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:04 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


Possibly it was a custom-made gift for someone at the time? Back in the 1970s I worked at a large company that utilized the services of a local laminating company that would encase just about any small object in an acrylic block like that. We had pieces made for valued customers as gifts - for example, a golf ball and small score-card pencil (for someone who'd apparently had a memorable golf game). When the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin first came out, we had a bunch of those made into blocks and gave them to customers. I guess they make nice paperweights/conversation pieces on a person's desk. I don't know what the story was behind half the objects, but I worked in the advertising department and was usually the one who filled out the purchase order and took the little tsotchkes to the laminating company so I do remember having all manner of thingies encased in plastic.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:32 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


The dollar (which may or may not be actually silver) says 1921, and the dice are 4 and 6, so I am guessing that someone's silver anniversary (at work, maybe?) was in 1946. Meaning they started in 1921 and worked for 25 years and this was an anniversary gift, as silver anniversary = 25 years. Probably a novelty paperweight.

Could also mark a 25th birthday or wedding anniversary.
posted by misha at 9:40 PM on February 2


The coin in the pictures most certainly appears to be a 1921 Morgan Dollar. They're 90% silver and were pretty common (44 million struck in 1921 alone - I have one in my pocket right now).
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:22 AM on February 3


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